Benchmarks vs. The Real World: Reality Check

I had a chance to spend a day in Chandler, Arizona (not a  boondoggle if you go in July!) with David Baker and his Enterprise Server  Engineering team, which is part of Intel’s Developer Relations Division.

In layman’s terms, these are the guys that do all the work with  our software partners to optimize performance on Xeon servers.  We drive this team crazy every time we launch  a new Xeon server chip because all of the OEM and ISV partners look for  benchmarks to show off their respective hardware and  software performance.   Internally, even the Intel server group is  equally guilty because they want to feature multi core and scaling performance,  along with neat new features like our AES-NI encryption  instructions  but, as we all know,  benchmarks are benchmarks.  Every partner  looks for the one that will highlight some unique feature of their  implementation, and that’s all well and good. However, while customers may view  benchmarks as necessary, rarely are they sufficient to demonstrate the actual  deployed real world workloads (I know, you are shocked!).

As a result, the months in between Intel Xeon  chip launches are actually just as busy for our team in Chandler. That’s when  they essentially work on customer workloads, and/or interesting emerging  technologies like the Franz Semantic Database.  Do  you know about Triples? While there is still pressure; it’s a much more  creative environment as they get the variety of challenges introduced by new  technology like Franz’s AllegroGraph.

Lately,  the team has had the chance to work with a lot of healthcare partners. For me,  this is ultimately the “most real” application you get to show end user’s visible  technology improvements, such as faster diagnostic scan results. Whether it is delivered  from dedicated systems or it is Software as a Service, applications don’t get  more mission critical than healthcare.

“In critical patient care situations like a stroke,  time is essential. Significant technology  advancements like the Intel® Xeon® processor 5500 series processor combined  with our Vitrea fX brain perfusion application enable the fast processing of  large amounts of image data to provide doctors with quantitative results  related to patients’ regional cerebral blood volume (rCBV), mean transit time  (MTT) and regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF).” Vikram Simha, Chief Technical Officer, Vital  Images

Hopefully, you also caught my  recent blog about how Intel Xeons help deliver digital mammogram results even faster and more  efficiently.

There are a lot of yet to be  announced efforts underway in additional healthcare workloads, BI, drug  discovery and other areas.  If you’re a  partner and you’ve worked with this talented team, or you work with them now,  feel free to send along a thank-you! Keep watching for future results, and keep  sending us challenges!