back to article IBM waterboards PA-RISC Superdome from HP

The fierce Unix server market will sometimes drive vendors to madness. Just look at IBM, which has taken to skinning corpses so that it can prove the toughness of Power6-based gear. IBM will usually engage in mostly fair fights, pitting Power-based servers against HP's Itanium systems. Big Blue's most recent assault, however, …

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Alien

Oops, So Sorry. Am I Out of Turn/Knights Temporal Alignment

El Reg, you cannot Deny the Evidence of "XXXXStream ProgramMing .......... AI Ping Dynasty Semantic Web dDevelopment "which has been StreamPosting to your Comments Faculty ........... which ITself is a Canny Network with AIMind of ITs Own for Sharing.

Your Ball, let IT Run with IT. :-)

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You are insane if you buy any kind of Superdome

PA-RISC / Itanic it does not matter, HP's technology is from the 1990's.

The world has shifted to virtualization and HP is stuck with aging NUMA technology which only offers hardware partitioning which does nothing for utilization rates or flexibility.

Itanic is a exercise in how to leverage Intel's fabs while putting as little into the chip design as possible. Except for some reason it is still 90nm. Expect Tukwila to come out 1Q of next year, then Poulson is nothing more than a 32nm version of Tukwila then expect to migrate to Xeon just like we had to migrate off PA-RISK.

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Ed
Dead Vulture

The racks will be filled

Anyone concerned that the IBM systems use 350% more power per rack slot? Since we all know that space on the computer room floor tends to be the real limiter on what new systems companies can add, it's only a matter of time before that freed space will be used by something else. And at that power usage density, that computer room will soon be generating a lot of heat...

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Stunningly, people are still buying PA-RISC

As usual, the article is funny and it gets our message across so thanks.....I do have to say that I agree PA-RISC is aging and not competitive anymore (your depiction that we are skinning a corpse is a bit rough, buy hey, its a free country). But its very worth noting that people are still buying this PA-RISC stuff! (apparently against the advice of Anonymous coward, 2 posts before mine). Hence our targeting. The facts.....from HP's Feb 19th earnings call transcript, they said "Business critical systems revenue grew 1% year-over-year. Integrity server revenue grew 37% ("offset by declines in PA-RISC and Alpha" according to the press release) and now represents 75% of BCS mix." That means that 25% is not Integrity (ie Itanium-based) and not x86 either (that's in the Industry Standard Servers bucket) so the rest is PA-RISC/Alpha (most of that has to be PA-RISC). And 25% is, by my calculation, $216M in the quarter. So if people are still spending hundreds of millions on PA-RISC and given it is that non-competitive then it tells us they are still resisting the multi-year plea by HP to have them recompile/migrate to Integrity Systems based on Itanium. Plus - they have to move somewhere since HP has suggested PA-RISC systems won't be sold after year-end (this year) so time is running out. They need alternative options. So we want to (and believe we have valid reasons to) offer them an attractive upgrade and rebates and help with migrations. Those still buying PA-RISC systems that are reading your article will get it, I hope ;-) ...a nice article, nonetheless...thanks.

Scott Handy, VP, WW Marketing and Strategy, IBM Power Systems

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Happy

RE: Anonymous Coward

"....The world has shifted to virtualization and HP is stuck with aging NUMA...." Really? So I guess you had no idea HP had Virtual Partitions for hp-ux long before the other commercial UNIX vendors had a comparable product, then? Or that the Virtual Server Environment for Integrity allows you to host Windows, hp-ux and Linux virtual machines (yes, just like VMware!) on the one system, right from the bottom of the Integrity range to the top? No, I didn't think you knew that, but then I'm not surprised.

And IBM's tricks with TPC are old and notorious, like using $5m of back-end storage with an unrealistically and massively partitioned database to try and make a mid-range server look good! Hence the steep transactions/$ price even after the most outrageous discounting. They have to do comparisons with 2003 tests because they know the new tests don't let them bend the figures so badly. But it is interesting to notice they had to resort to AIX 5.3, presumably because AIX 6 is just not up to the job. I have defended our Superdomes against wild Sun attacks and dubious IBM promises, and each time we've gone to a shoot-out using real-world data the Superdomes have won. Granted, I'm sure there must be some cases where IBM (and even Sun!) would be a better choice, I just haven't found one.

PS: - where's the "Troll" icon???

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@Scott

Scott,

Thanks for pointing out that folks are still buying PA-RISC systems... of course you managed not to mention that they're not buying the systems you compare against, but actually 2 generations of processor and 2 generations of chipset forward from that point:

http://www.hp.com/products1/servers/scalableservers/superdome/comparison.html

And of course those customers with that old workhorse you compared against could have actually done in-box upgrades to these systems and even to the equivaelent IA64 systems if they wanted to... something that IBM is only just talking about now - remind me how customers upgraded from p4 to p5 again? Oh yeah - a box swap.

@Ashlee - if a VP of one of the big vendors is openly thanking you for your article, you've probably missed the point. And of course the point is that IBM try to constantly bring everyones attention back to TPC-C numbers, because without that crutch, the whole AIX/Power ecosystem looks a lot less inviting.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: @Scott

Hmm. I'd say someone missed the point.

You took that as a glowing story about IBM's benchmark prowess then?

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Pirate

@ Ashlee / Scott

"You took that as a glowing story about IBM's benchmark prowess then?"

No, he almost certainly didn't but look at his title.

when faced with lemons, make lemonade....

next he'll be telling you their storage arrays are faster than EMC/HDS/etc

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@Ashlee

No, of course not... merely that I don't think IBM deserved the oxygen of publicity on this one.

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Happy

RE: Scott Handy

Actually, I hear that there's still lots of Alpha going out the door for those customers still waiting for ports of VMS apps/code to Itanium. I don't have exact figures but an HP rep quoted it to me as about 5:2 Alpha to PA-RISC. I'm not sure if that's revenue (Alpha boxes cost more) or system units, though. Apparently (according to the Zimmer frame crew in our basement) OpenVMS isn't dead just yet!

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: @Ashlee

And miss the chance at that headline? I can't see how that would be possible.

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My two cents

1. IDC Server Tracker FY07 - Vendor: HP, Processor Type: PA-RISC, Server Class: High-End Enterprise Server. Sum of Units: More than 500 (I'm afraid I must respect some "confidentiality"). Hard to believe, but Superdome PA-RISC is still alive.

2. "And IBM's tricks with TPC are old and notorious, like using $5m of back-end storage with an unrealistically and massively partitioned database to try and make a mid-range server look good"

Everybody uses a crazy mountain of storage with the TPC-C audits, not only IBM. One example: 320.974GB with the last and **heavily partitioned** Superdome Integrity.

3. "Integrity allows you to host Windows, hp-ux and Linux virtual machines (yes, just like VMware!) on the one system, right from the bottom of the Integrity range to the top" -

Windows on Superdome? What a terrible idea!...

SAP SD 2-Tier (you see? I don't need to use TPC-C):

Superdome 9050. 64 cores. Windows: 46.380 SAPS

p5-595 @ 2,3GHz. 64 cores. AIX: 117.520 SAPS

TPC-H 3TB (TPC but not C, ok?)

Superdome 9050. 64 cores. Windows: 60.359 QphH

p5-595 @ 2,3GHz. 64 cores. AIX: 100.512 QphH

And the Big Fella is coming!!

BTW: good article, Ashlee.

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Anonymous Coward

Missed the point

I think that IBM's point might have been "why continue running that 5-year old box when a new IBM box can give you so much more performance and save you money on software licensing in the process" Not look how handily we beat this 5-year old server.

PS - Everyone cheats on benchmarks - IBM included

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Linux

Superdome crazy

Virtual Server Environment for Integrity allows you to host Windows, hp-ux and Linux virtual machines (yes, just like VMware!)

We wish. For one VMWare does not and never will run on Itanic. VSE is a marketing term for a mess of products. Integrity Virtual Machine has a handful of customers unlike VMWare. IVM is really just a packaged HP-UX pretending to be a hypervisor. Even Sun has introduced a hypervisor on its Niagara line.

Maybe its the Neoview that is doing so well, but thats right we can't sell it in Oracle accounts which is 99% of accounts.

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