Performance & Benchmarks: Xeon E7 and DB2 tops TPC-C Performance Results

Customers that look to deploy mission critical applications  on Intel Xeon Servers always consider IBM as one of the key hardware  partners.  IBM offers a variety of system  configurations, and also invests both in benchmarks and software partners. With  these investments, IBM can differentiate its products and demonstrate the full  capability to handle enterprise server workloads.

Last week, IBM published the latest in a series of  benchmarks on Intel’s Xeon E7 processors performance.  This one is a very impressive 3 million  transactions per minute TPC-C benchmark, which is the highest performance  result ever published on an X86-64 system.   It also ranks fifth in the TPC-C Top Ten performance results for non-clustered  systems and also in the TPC-C Top Ten price/performance results for non-clustered  systems.   Housed in a 43U rack, this entire system  configuration is perfect for enterprise database applications.

The IBM x3850 X5 achieved this result by using IBM’s  innovative MAX5 technology. The MAX5 technology allows for a scalable, 1U,  memory expansion drawer. This expansion drawer provides an additional 32 DIMM  slot with a memory controller for added performance, and boosts scalability  with a node controller for the x3850.

The TPC-C configuration above had a total of 3TB of memory  (2TB in the server and 1TB in the IBM MAX5 for System x). Previously, IBM has  also published papers that indicate the effect of additional memory capacity on database performance.  While this paper focuses on in-memory database  performance, the memory expansion can also increase the performance of other  application workloads like web, file, virtualization and cloud computing.

It is worth noting that in addition to the TPC-C benchmark, IBM also published a result that sets new  records for 4-socket performance and overall price/performance on the TPC-E  benchmark that utilizes Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Addition  configured with SSD storage.  I mention  this because there is always lively discussion regarding the merits of the  TPC-C versus the TPC-E benchmarks and their  relationships to actual production workloads.

I believe these are all great examples of the workload and performance capability of Intel’s Xeon E7 chips     IBM has demonstrated that when partners work  collaboratively it is possible to implement unique features that deliver  additional capability to the customer.   The tradeoff between CPU and memory has always provided the ability to  tune configurations for database workloads.  With these new benchmarks IBM has validated those  options on its x3850 X5  server.