I wrote a few weeks ago about the end of the mini generation. This time I thought I would dig out some data to support my case. My personal anecdotal evidence is what I am hearing from my customers. They are looking at replacing hundreds of legacy Unix servers with new high performance Xeon boxes. I am not talking about a one-for-one replacement, but using virtualization to replace 5 to 25 of these older unix boxes with each Xeon 5500 server. The economic incentives here are pretty staggering.
I see multiple reasons
1) Ecosystem maturity. Enterprise class tools for virtualization, Linux, high availability from VMware, KVM, Xen, RedHat, Suse and others
2) Performance. The performance of 200-2005 vintage sparc and ultra-sparc boxes is easily replaced by Xeon â€“ saving power, space, and potentially licensing.
3) Applications readiness. Applications like Oracle are now â€śmade for linuxâ€ť and do great on X-86 platforms
4) Staff. You have the expertise in Linux on Xeon, this is a growing area, capitalize on it.
5) Economics. There is real savings to be had in licensing, power, space, staff, sanity( sanity savings is subjective).
I hopped out to tpc.org to look at some benchmarks. Benchmarks are notoriously awful as measures of actual performance, but they do work â€“ mostly â€“ as a comparison of relative performance.
There isnâ€™t a lot of Sparc data, and much of it is old, but if you are looking at replacing some aging 4+ year old Unix hardware, that may be just what you need. (with respects to Bryceâ€™s cash for clunkers blog).
For TPC-C the most recent Sparc result I found was from 2003. Running Oracle Database 10g EE on Sun Solaris 8 on 64 single cores of Fujitsu SPARC64 - 1.3 GHz processors, they delivered 595702 tpmC at $12.43/tpmC (tpc.org)
So if â€śthis old machine" is setting in your landscape, gulping power and support costs, you could replace it today by running Oracle Database 11g SE1 on Oracle Linux 2 quad core Intel Xeon Processors X5570 2.93GHz delivering 631766 tpmC at $1.08/tpmC (tpc.org)
The ROI on this must be about 10 minutes! Ok maybe that is a bit quick, but this is a data base! Export, Import, ta-da! What are you going to do with all that extra rack space and power?
Replace a 64 socket platform with a 2 socket platform. Amazing. this could be 1U, or even a blade. You could put it under your desk. There have got to be some examples of older sparc and power boxes sitting in the landscape. Let me know what you have.