back to article Sun powers Niagara hypervisor update with IBM speed boast

Sun Microsystems has updated the Logical Domain (LDom) server virtualization hypervisor for its Niagara family of servers, and used the occasion to brag about some benchmark results it has posted on a popular Java application test. The LDom hypervisor is only available for Sun and Fujitsu servers based on Sun's Sparc T1, T2, and …

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LDoms on Supernova/Rock

I would agree, not supporting LDoms on Supernova/Rock systems would be stupid, that's why LDoms will be fully supported on Rock systems from day 1. LDoms will also be the server virtualization technology used on all future SPARC CMT based processor systems after Rock.

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Flame

Acronyms -- VPS

Basic convention requires that acronyms be defined before they are used. Forcing the audience to re-read the previous paragraph to confirm what "VPS" was referring to is inconsiderate to say the least.

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Containers?

I always thought containers were a bit of a cop-out when compared to IBM's approach. Glad that LDoms are an option.

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Boffin

Seems like LDoms are far far behind PowerVM

We've been using IBM Power servers since Power4 (in 2005 we migrated from Sun Sparc to pSeries). After reading that article it seems like PowerVM virtualization is still far better than every other competitive technology. Not only it allows to dynamically add/remove to LPAR CPU/memory/physical adapters and virtual adapters on the fly without any reboot or application restart, but with Power6 it allows to move running LPAR from one physical server to another. Not to mention it's the only UNIX virtualization technology fully certified and supported with Oracle RAC (virtual networks and disks may be used for interconnects and cluster devices).

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Happy

Hmm

How much is this a test of the hardware and how much a test of how well Sun can tune Weblogic vs Websphere? Comparing the two servers identically configured would be much more useful.... OS tuning would also have an effect - on AIX for example configuring large page support for Java gives you a 10-15% boost.

Then again it is marketting bull so cannot expect accuracy!

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@AC UNIX Virtualization & Oracle RAC

> it's the only UNIX virtualization technology fully certified and supported with Oracle RAC

Hmm, been listening to IBM rather than checking your facts independently have you?

http://www.oracle.com/technology/products/database/clustering/certify/db_virtualization_support.pdf

Seet table on p6

Seems like all 3 UNIX vendors have virtualization technology certified with RAC...

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??? what are you comparing?

is this spec? http://www.spec.org/jAppServer2004/results/res2009q1/jAppServer2004-20090113-00127.html

Here they are using a T5140 getting 9,500.76 Jops...

Reading a little bit more would give you more detail about SUN Configuration:

J2EE Server CPUs: 64 cores, 8 chips

DB Server CPUs: 32 cores, 4 chips

Maybe they should be comparing against a fully loaded 570 with 32 cores.

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Jan

Why the picked the p570 is anyones guess...

...as the p570 scales waaay beyond a T5440 (like 3/4 TB ram, 64 cores and more than 100 PCI slots).

otoh, you cant pick on price against the more appropriate p550.

Oh well, let them flame each other for all that I care, its not like IBM was especially nice to SUN within the last years.

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Lou
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Re: IBMs medicine for IBM itself....

The good old bait and swicth selling technique - works like a charm - do the bechmark on a set of more expensive systems with some CPU's switched off connected to an unimplementable storage subsystem to optimize IO.

And then quote the benchmarks while selling a smaller, slower, lower spec system.

Vendors - got love them and the It descision makers and analysts who get caught with this time and again.

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Anonymous Coward

each has their benefits...

As someone who works in a shop which has invested in both vendor's kit, I can say that in day to day production use they seem much of a muchness. The p570 is much more expensive and that gets you a quite different ability to handle load. The PowerVM stuff is particularly good where you want to not fully allocate the system resources and let the excess float across to where the need is. This works really well for compute heavy loads that don't thread particularly well (as the Power6 CPU core is frankly a beast). The various Niagara boxes are much more cheap and cheerful and more easily deployed to small systems uses, especially when carved up into LDOMs. Very good for thread heavy lighter tasks and quite poor at heavy compute or heavy floating point work (and looking at the FPU count and CPU clocks this should come as small surprise).

As for the various workload mobility solutions and the like, try getting your SAN connections to migrate seamlessly with your workload, getting your monitoring and alerting systems to get their heads around the moves and to explain it all to your change management group and you might find that while there is some level of theoretical enthusiasm, the real world uses are still a ways off.

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Seems Like IBM is speading FUD.... again.

Sorry Anonymous Coward, you are mistaken, LDoms are fully certified with both Oracle RAC and standalone DBMS. Also, LPars ability to move VM's is based on checkpoint/resume despite claims made that it's "live". I could go on, but I think we all pretty much get that IBM spreading FUD is more predictable than Old Faithful, and I personally get a chuckle out of reading it. Please continue.

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Anonymous Coward

Is it just me or...

Have most people completely missed the point of T series servers, IBM still don't seem to have caught on, to the fact that LDOMs work well, and that you can completely virtualize them, we've been moving LDOMs between servers quite happily for six months now, without having to reconfigure the LDOMs. Can't actually do it with the LDOM running though, you have to at least quiesce it, before you move it.

Had an IBM salesperson trying to tell me that I'd need to spend a fortune on Oracle licences for my T series servers, but had obviously not heard of LDOMs, mind you some Oracle salesman seem not to get their own licensing rules either. But actually Power and Sparc cost the same, and where as a Power core will out do an Ultra Sparc core, not so sure about T series, slower processor, but lots more active threads.

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Anonymous Coward

Live Partition Mobility

@ John Falkenthal

I think you are referring to the "Live Application Mobility" feature, which uses checkpointing for moving WPARs, the IBM equivalent to Zones.

Live Partition Mobility migrates a running LPAR between physical hosts, and I can assure that it is Live. Running Oracle, SAP, whatever ...it switches between hosts seamlessly.

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Anonymous Coward

Not so fast there, cowboys...

"this benchmark comparision is more realistic than comparing a fully-blown p570, 16 rack units large and playing in a completly different class in pricing to a fully blown 4-rack-unit T5440"

So why does Sun position the T5440 as competition for the p570? Sun claims they're both in the same class: mid-range servers.

Sun's virtualization offerings have come a long way fast and we employ them in our shop. But they are quite primative compared to IBM's much more mature offerings.

"Had an IBM salesperson trying to tell me that I'd need to spend a fortune on Oracle licences for my T series servers, but had obviously not heard of LDOMs"

Yes, he has, only IBM calls them WPARs (of which there is two kinds). Oracle only recently started supporting RDBMS running on an LDom. They say you can, but at the first sign of trouble Oracle will bail. Believe me I know. LDoms uses thread assignments for CPUs and doesn't have isolated I/O or memory. Oracle licenses based on the number of cores installed on the machine, not thread assignments. Single threaded performance of the Niagara is awful, so unless you parallelize all you queries, Oracle's performance on the chip will not be good. But why would anyonce want to use a Niagara box for Oracle anyway? Sun's own marketing literature clearly states that these boxes are not intended for databasing.

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Go

Anonymous: IBM Sales Person not too sharp

"Had an IBM salesperson trying to tell me that I'd need to spend a fortune on Oracle licences for my T series servers, but had obviously not heard of LDOMs" --- The IBM'er did not need to understand LDOM's, just Containers, licenses can also be limited in a Solaris 10 Zone with resource limitations applied.

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Go

Anonymous: LDOM & CoolThreads Capabililties

"LDoms uses thread assignments for CPUs and doesn't have isolated I/O or memory." --- That is not entirely correct.

LDoms will isolate memory by 8K page segments.

LDoms will isolate out individual I/O devices.

LDoms will isolate individual PCI buses on a system.

"Oracle licenses based on the number of cores installed on the machine, not thread assignments." --- right, but with the T2 processor, you get 8 threads per core, which is how you separate out the Oracle licenses. If you choose 6 threads, you still have to pay for an entire core, since you have to round up.

"Single threaded performance of the Niagara is awful, so unless you parallelize all you queries, Oracle's performance on the chip will not be good." --- that is not correct, your workload type may offer very good performance regardless of parallelization.

When you have multiple queries per second, the CoolThreads platform will scale very well... linearly. Especially with many small indexed queries in a properly designed application. Any application which has multiple threads (i.e. multiple apache threads, multiple oracle server processes, oracle MTS, etc.) runs very nicely under CoolThreads.

"why would anyonce want to use a Niagara box for Oracle anyway?" --- Cost, Flexibility, migration path.

The license cost on a T1 box is really cheap, making an outstanding price/performance platform. On a T2 box, the price/performance per core is competitive with Power. CoolThreads offer a very large memory footprint and excellent memory throughput. Apps can be written once and scale up with hardware as required.

"Sun's own marketing literature clearly states that these boxes are not intended for databasing." --- CoolThreads is a great platform for web facing applications, especially when HTTPS is required. If it is a small installation that has to scale to something medium sized, you can use Oracle in a very cost effective way on these boxes.

If there is a poorly optimized application or an Oracle database that requires excellent performance on occasional ad-hoc queries, CoolThreads may not be the platform for you.

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Coat

768000 USD versus 48000 USD. you choose...

at david halko:

oracle only recognizes hardware partitioning. zones do NOT count. 1 install gives you a bill for all cores. Never buy multicore if you dont need it, from SUN.

SUN is being punished for hooking mysql, and that will continue until they die or give up......

On the comparison: it says IBM is twice as fast.

the math is easy.

from the disclosure: (SUN)

SUT CONFIGURATION

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

J2EE Server Nodes: 4 DB Server Nodes: 1

J2EE Server CPUs: 64 cores, 8 chips DB Server CPUs: 32 cores, 4 chips

J2EE Instances: 16 DB Instances: 1

from the disclosure: (IBM)

SUT CONFIGURATION

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

J2EE Server Nodes: 1 DB Server Nodes: 1

J2EE Server CPUs: 4 cores, 2 chips, 2 cores/chip (SMT on) DB Server CPUs: 4 cores, 2 chips, 2 cores/chip (SMT on)

J2EE Instances: 2 DB Instances: 1

4 sun boxes with 16 cores is 64 cores delivering 9501 JOPS

= 148 JOPS per core at approx 64 * 12000 USD

= 768.000 USD

1 ibm box with 4 cores delivering 1190 JOPS

= 297 JOPS per core at approx 4 * 12000 =

48000 USD.

(oracle listprice standard weblogic edition per 2008 per core. you discount may vary ;-) )

so the ibm box is twice as fast, or saves you 50% on the dollars.......

which is the average result when comparing sun / ibm in real life for the past 6 years.....

since japp is a multithreaded workload, SUN is getting beaten on it's own home-ground.

my coat's the one with no 768000 dollars in it ;-)

cheers, RG

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Anonymous Coward

re: 68000 USD versus 48000 USD. you choose...

"oracle only recognizes hardware partitioning. zones do NOT count."

You are wrong... period. Oracle has accepted capped containers for years now. They do NOT only support hardware partitioning.

Now, RAC is another story. I heard it would be supported, but I'm not sure if it is yet...

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Anonymous Coward

Oracle RAC

Oracle is fairly slippery on RAC support in general. They used to publish a DIY RAC Cluster using firewire interconnects that they would not list as a supported production configuration......

Many of the sites I work with now do not use RAC anymore because of the licensing cost on even a modest 2-node cluster.

PS -- I have never seen a customer app yet that even approached benchmark performance. Development environments in use don't seem to provide for performance. They generate sql queries on the fly with no guarantee that the same operation is done the same way every time.

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Happy

Anonynous: Oracle Licensing

"oracle only recognizes hardware partitioning. zones do NOT count. 1 install gives you a bill for all cores. Never buy multicore if you dont need it, from SUN." --- This is very incorrect.

You can see how Solaris 10 Containers (which is a Zone having Resource Management applied) is explicitly mentioned as "Hard Partitioning" and how "Hard Partitioning" can be leveraged to reduce CPU licenses.

http://www.oracle.com/corporate/pricing/partitioning.pdf

(dated:2002)

(page 1)

Soft Partitioning

...

As a result, soft partitioning is not permitted as a means to determine or limit the number of software licenses required for any given server.

(page 2)

Hard Partitioning

Hard partitioning physically segments a server, by taking a single large server and separating it into distinct smaller systems. Each separated system acts as a physically independent, self-contained server, typically with its own CPUs, operating system, separate boot area, memory, input/output subsystem and network resources.

Examples of such partitioning type include: Dynamic System Domains (DSD) -- enabled by Dynamic Reconfiguration (DR), Solaris 10 Containers (capped Containers only)...

Partitioning Examples:

A server has 32 CPUs installed, but it is hard partitioned and only 16 CPUs are made available to run Oracle. The customer is required to license Oracle for only 16 CPUs.

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