back to article Ellison aims his first Oracle 'mainframe' at Big Blue

Larry Ellison has launched the first mainframe-class machine that he can correctly say he made sure came to market, and now he is going to take a run at IBM's mainframe and Unix server businesses. What's more, it looks like he will to be able to make some credible arguments as to why customers running Oracle software – and …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Popcorn?

    Is the start of the next big battle in computing hardware?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Popcorn?

      "Is the start of the next big battle in computing hardware?"

      No - these are the boat anchors for Larry's next yacht.....

      Anyone that doesn't have Solaris (and Mainframes) on the disinvest list needs to get with the 21st century....

    2. h3

      Re: Popcorn?

      He is not comparing it to a mainframe.

      http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/uk/z/hardware/zenterprise/zec12_specs.html

      It also seems like it is less mainframe like than older Suns - (Like the old Sun Fire 15k's).

  2. Sil
    Big Brother

    who cares about specint for mainframes

    Don't think many corporations buy mainframes for the specint benchmark.

    Real-world tpc-* benchmarks would be more interesting.

    Also people pay huge premiums for mainframes for its advantages as mentioned such as security, reliability, the hope that the seller will be there in 20 years. They are super risk averse people and corporations.

    I would not bet on sparc in 20 years. It's nice that Oracle will put price pressure on IBM but I'm not sure it would make sense for IBM / HP customers to go to Oracle. They will renegociate with IBM / HP and get better pricing, lower maintenance / upgrade fees.

    Let's see in 1 year if Oracle grabbed mainframe market share.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: who cares about specint for mainframes

      SPARC is just SPARC (which is still not bad), but the JVM instruction set is forever!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: who cares about specint for mainframes

      I don't think Larry actually intends this to take any share away from System z, in the sense that someone would wholesale replace System z with this Unix server. It seems to be more of a marketing tactic. People know that mainframe = really reliable, reliable high thruput (or just performance in general), really high security... generally just top of the line across the board. This is not a mainframe, it is a standard 32 socket Unix server. By calling it a mainframe, I think he hopes that people will equate it with "generally really good server.".... HP has been doing that forever with Superdome, calling it "mainframe class."

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      For those who are interested....

      This is IBM's unofficial response, someone from IBM's response, to the M5/T5 benchmark claims.

      http://benchmarkingblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/26/oracles-sparc-t5-and-m5-benchmarks-lather-rinse-repeat/

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: IBM's unofficial response,

        It's quite funny, really:

        "Most of the claims are Oracle’s own benchmarks that are not published and audited. There are a small number of industry standard benchmarks — and of course these are ones where it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to compare to other relevant results."

        i.e. "we don't like Oracle's own tests, and it's 'too hard' to disprove the industry standard numbers, so we won't try"

        Yeah, right...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: IBM's unofficial response,

          "i.e. "we don't like Oracle's own tests, and it's 'too hard' to disprove the industry standard numbers, so we won't try""

          That is not what the IBM engineer is explaining at all in the unofficial blog when she writes, "and of course these are ones where it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to compare to other relevant results."

          What she means is that if IBM runs a SPEC or a TPC benchmark with a Power 7 system and Oracle then runs the same test, but Oracle decides to use 4x the cores, 4x the memory, 4x the disk arms with more I/O, you cannot then say that T5/M5 is faster, slower, or anything else than Power 7. It is not a valid test for comparison purposes. Apples and oranges with the overall system performance probably having nothing to do with the procs/systems but with more memory being faster than less or more disk arms being faster than less.... This is the problem with industry standard benchmarks. SPEC, TPC, etc don't control the external variables at all so they are next to meaningless for comparing one system to the next.

    4. Phil 4
      WTF?

      Re: who cares about specint for mainframes

      Its clear from your comments that you don't follow SPARC, as this year, SPARC celebrated 25 years, so clearly SPARC has survived longer than any other processor out there. Even Solaris has been around for 20+ years. If there is any processor (and OS) that has "staying power", in the enterprise, its SPARC/Solaris. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKB9zV8TXuQ

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: who cares about specint for mainframes

        Its clear from your comments that you don't follow SPARC, as this year, SPARC celebrated 25 years, so clearly SPARC has survived longer than any other processor out there.

        The MIPS architecture is two years older than SPARC (if we're going by first shipping hardware), and it's still used for new CPUs, such as China's Godson.

        IBM's zArchitecture is binary backward-compatible all the way to S/360, which started to ship in 1965. That's 48 years.

        One could argue that today's x86 chips are just successive improvements on the 8086 - certainly they still carry some baggage from that architecture - which would make that architecture about 35 years old. I wouldn't make that argument, but it could be made.

      2. pierce

        Re: who cares about specint for mainframes

        To phil 4...

        um. lets see, x86 dates back to 1978 or so. IBM System/Z has its roots in and is still 100% binary compatible with System/360 which dates back to 1962 or something. IBM Power series has been 64 bit since 1990 (Sparc went 64bit with v9 3-4 years later), and was evolved from the 801 RISC architecture designed in the early 70s.

        maybe you should step out of that hall of mirrors that Larry created. There's a whole world out here.

      3. h3

        Re: who cares about specint for mainframes

        I don't dislike SPARC but I don't think Oracle have the same skills as the old Sun used to - engineer on site in 4 hours. Hotfix by the end of the day.

        I get the impression that Oracle still cost a lot but aren't as good.

        The big SPARC boxes are Fujitsu made.

        I don't like some of the choices in Solaris 11 but there is other things such as the zfs boot support being a binary in the boot block and not implemented properly into openfirmware that just show to me they cannot be bothered doing things properly.

        I wouldn't mind working for a big Solaris shop but there are no good SPARC workstations and there won't be either.

        I used to have use a mono Classix sparc xterminal that a liked it was so easy on the eyes and nice to work on. (Bit noisy having a sparc server under your desk though.)

        I don't like the Sun C++ standard library either. I used Opensolaris when you reasonably could and it was a pita. (I built most of what I wanted against the apache c++ standard library but it is not a one job man building gnome and I never had it totally right too many hacks - fortunately I don't really need much).

        I preferred the look of bitstream to freetype and still do.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: who cares about specint for mainframes

      > Real-world tpc-* benchmarks would be more interesting.

      http://www.oracle.com/us/solutions/performance-scalability/sparc-t5-8-single-system-1925151.html

      Oracle's SPARC T5-8 server equipped with eight 3.6 GHz SPARC T5 processors achieved a world record result of 8,552,523 tpmC for a single system on the TPC-C benchmark.

      ...

      The SPARC T5-8 server is 2.4 times faster per chip compared to IBM Power 780 three-node cluster results for TPC-C tpmC and is 2.5 times less expensive per $/tpmC. (1)

      1. Jesper Frimann
        Holmes

        Re: who cares about specint for mainframes

        Again clustered results versus non clustered results is not really a fair way to compare a server to another server.

        But there is no doubt that Oracle currently has the highest scoring non clustered and clustered TPC-C results. It's a fact.

        The result you really need to compare against is the POWER 595 result, from 2008

        6,085,166 tpm-c with 128 Threads/64 Cores/32 Chips. Which means that the T5 chip delivers 5.6 times the throughput, but that POWER6 was 5.7 times faster per thread and 1.4 times faster per core.

        What would be nice was a POWER 7[7|8]0 result to compare against. I have no doubt that a POWER 780-FHD would beat the T5-8 pretty easily. So the question is how would a POWER 770-MMD fare, it would most likely rather close. But again IMHO this forces IBM to upgrade their midrange line again.

        Competition is always nice!

        // Jesper

        1. Phil 4
          WTF?

          Re: who cares about specint for mainframes

          And why hasn't IBM benchmarked a fully loaded non-clustered Power 770/780/795 or even Power7+ system? Because their per core performance would all be worse that the lowly 2-socket Turbocore Power780 config they ran a few years ago. IBM whats everyone to size from the smallest configs using rPerf which as we all know, oversizes on workloads that have heavy I/O

        2. wfavorite

          Re: who cares about specint for mainframes

          FHD - Unable to parse input.

          I assume you mean MHD (p7+ 780)

          1. Jesper Frimann
            Facepalm

            Re: who cares about specint for mainframes

            @wfavorite

            Thanx, sure it's MHD not FHD which would be a speculative POWER7+ based POWER 795.

            // Jesper

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      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: who cares about specint for mainframes

        "The SPARC T5-8 server is 2.4 times faster per chip compared to IBM Power 780 three-node cluster results for TPC-C tpmC and is 2.5 times less expensive per $/tpmC. (1)"

        Yes, but Oracle used 4x the cores, 4x the memory and many times the amount of storage arms as the IBM result, i.e. Oracle's benchmark result has nothing to do with CPU.

  3. Bill Neal
    WTF?

    Fastest?

    According to El Reg, "...T5 and M5 chips run at 3.6GHz."

    Is that really a better performer than the zEC12 chip, a 5.5 GHz hexa-core processor?

    Beating Power7 is great, but I saw a marketing claim that Larry was about to announce the fastest processor in the world. Am I to understand this was marketing BS as usual?

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    3. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Fastest?

      It could be, there is not always a direct relationship between mhz and core count when comparing different 'breeds' of processors.

      I would be interested to see the power consumption comparison here as well. A single benchmark figure is a little suggestive of there being more to the situation than we can see right now.

    4. Phil 4
      Thumb Up

      Re: Fastest?

      SPARC T5 not only runs at 3.6GHz, but SPARC T5 has 16 x cores/CPU and 8 x threads/core-more than any CPU in the world. So theres more to performance than just GHZ. Both SPARC T5 and M5 run circles around the 5.5 GHz zEC12 chip. SPARC T5 leap frogged IBM's latest Power7+ and latest Xeon SandBridge from integer and floating point performance to SAP, OLTP and Java.

      Just look at the 17 world record benchmarks just published!https://blogs.oracle.com/BestPerf/

      1. Lusty Silver badge

        Re: Fastest?

        When you're comparing to a System Z (Mainframe) then clock speed it where it's at. You can add all the cores you like but if you have a serial workload then it won't mean a thing. Cores are great for Unix but the article kept mentioning Mainframe...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Fastest?

          "When you're comparing to a System Z (Mainframe) then clock speed it where it's at. "

          Although it is true that the EC12 System z has the fastest clock speeds, on CISC cycles no less, the mainframe's real advantage over every other system is thruput I/O. It wasn't built for scientific computing, where clock speed is important, it was built for handling incredible amounts of incoming and outgoing bank, census, logistics, etc transactions.

      2. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
        Unhappy

        Re: Fastest?

        16 Cores

        So now I need 16 F*****g licences to run oracle on the server????????? No wonder its only a quarter of a mil$ for a T5 server and nearly 2 mil for the IBM product. Cheaper once off hardware costs but higher licence costs[1], time to kick the oracle licence addiction.

        [1] We abandoned a plan to virtualise our servers when it emerged that moving oracle from the dual core servers to the quad-core virtual servers would have doubled the licencing costs for no advantage even though oracle was going to be configured to run on on a single cpu. A side effect of that is that it has extended the life of the big blue box.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Fastest?

          Don't remind me of the stark raving bonkers price-setting by Oracle, list price vs. actual price or not. Do they have any other customer than the financial "industry"?

          Instrumented JVM:

          If sold at < USD 500 per node + yearly maintenance: count me in.

          Actual price is USD 15'000 per CPU (whatever that is): LOLNO!

        2. John Riddoch

          Re: Fastest?

          Well, the T5 is a 0.5 multiplier per core vs 1x for Power (see here), so you get the same license cost on a T5-2 (32 cores) as a 2 socket Power 7 box (16 cores). Also, if you virtualise properly, you only license for the cores used.

          1. captain_solo

            Re: Fastest?

            Roger that.

            Everywhere I have seen someone say "oh virtualization raised my Oracle Licensing" it usually is a result of one of Standards being based on Foolish consistencies, which everyone knows are the hobgoblin of a small mind

            ...if you don't know how or are using solutions that don't allow you to squeeze the license all the way down to a single core for Oracle DB, then you are doing it wrong.

        3. Mike Timbers

          Re: Fastest?

          Then you need to negotiate harder with Oracle. Their position on hardware cores and VM's that are not based on Oracle VM is untenable when challenged. And in my experience they will back down every time to avoid providing ammunition to the likes of VMWare who will call restraint of trade if they could only get the evidence.

          I moved large amounts of databases to bigger hardware using VMs and paid Oracle no extra money.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Fastest?

            "Then you need to negotiate harder with Oracle." - no - they need to deliver what customers want on the menu - I moved nearly everything to SQL server clusters over the last two years due to Oracle refusing to acknowledge virtualisation. Much lower TCO and far fewer issues. New databases created instantly rather than in minutes. God knows how Oracle sell anything these days..

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Fastest?

            "I moved large amounts of databases to bigger hardware using VMs and paid Oracle no extra money."

            Agree with the premise, but I would be cautious with Oracle and VMware. Did Oracle actually give you something in writing that states that VMware counts as a hard partition? I have never seen that done. If you don't have the documentation, Oracle might decide not to charge you now... but if there is ever an audit that could be a problem.

        4. implicateorder

          Re: Fastest?

          Oracle's core multiplication factor uses a .25 cpu license for 1 core of a 16-core T3 processor. It uses a .5 for 1 core of the 8-core T4 processor. I have a feeling they will use a .25 cpu license for the 16-core T5 processor (of course they might get greedy).

          At .25 licences/core, a 2 socket T5 would be effectively worth 8 CPU licenses. At .5 licences/core, a 2-socket T5 would be 16 licenses.

          Oracle also recognizes LDOMs with whole-core constraints to be as valid CPU boundaries. So if you don't want to use all 32 cores in a 2-socket T5, use ldoms to control how many cores are being deployed...

          1. Jesper Frimann
            Happy

            Re: Fastest?

            @mplicateorder

            RTFM. The per core license for T5 is 0.5

            http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/contracts/processor-core-factor-table-070634.pdf

            And LDOMS is still partitioning, sure it's much better than nothing buuuut..

            // Jesper

            1. implicateorder
              Thumb Down

              Re: Fastest?

              @Jester

              So what's your point? Do you concur with what I posted?

              And what is wrong with partitioning? I find the entire time-sliced Virtual machine paradigm silly. Especially for big workloads that need lots of cpus etc (crunching a few TB of data as fast as possible for instance). For instance we built a 100TB data warehouse... try running that in something like vmware.

              I'd prefer "partitioning" over "Classic x86 VMs" any day.

              1. Jesper Frimann
                Headmaster

                Re: Fastest?

                @implicateorder

                No, I am just saying that perhaps you should "read the manual" before starting rambling about 0.25 licenses on the T5. It would have taken you around 15 seconds to google the right answer. Again most serious people who actually work with Oracle does have these lists as bookmarks.

                And with regards to virtalization versus partitioning. Well in real life workloads fluctuate, through the day/week/month/year/hour/minute/second a workload might have very different needs for processor resources.

                On a machine like for example a POWER server using POWERVM I can simply reflect this by allocating different amounts of virtual capacity and guaranteed physical capacity.

                So if I have a combined workload on a production system, which averages between having 3 core average usage and for example peaks at 9 cores, several times through the day. Then I can simply allocate 9 (or 10 to be on the safe side) cores of virtual capacity, and 3 cores of guaranteed physical capacity.

                On your T5-X machine you would allocate something like a whole chip with 16 cores.

                Now 8 of these virtual machines would fill up your T5-8, but for example a power 760 would still only be half full, when it comes to processor resources.

                The difference between physical and virtual capacity you normally call the overcommitment factor. And depending on your workloads, it normally ranges between 2-5 on POWER.

                Basically making the machine 2-5 times bigger, you just need to be able to absorb the combined peaks at any time.

                Now surely there is operating system-level virtualization like zones, Wpars etc. But these do have their limits and do not provide good enough separation IMHO to mix different types of landscapes, and certainly not, if you are a hosing provider, different clients.

                // Jesper

                1. implicateorder
                  WTF?

                  Re: Fastest?

                  Not sure if you know this - but because this information is available on the internet, it seems moot to have to RTFM to post on a b!tch!ng session on an online forum.

                  And I had the IBM folks come down to my office and do the dog & pony...song & dance. Needless to say, I was unimpressed. A lot of what IBM is doing today seems to be in direct response to Oracle's Exa-****.

                  Also, anyone who has designed systems knows that you need to have capacity for peak loads. In clustered scenarios it is even more important to have 1/nth of the capacity available on each node of an n+1 cluster.

                  Overcommitment/oversubscription is nothing new. All multi-tasking operating systems have been doing something similar for decades. Usually when that happens on a host, it's performance tanks.

                  The virtualization model in LDOMs is better because it bypasses the oversubscription issue of other virtualization solutions and wysiwyg. Everything down to the IO slots can be partitioned.

                  1. Jesper Frimann
                    Devil

                    Re: Fastest?

                    Now there is a big difference between "available on the internet", and then it being listed on the official list that is posted by Oracle. Get over it, it's no biggie. We all make mistakes.

                    And honestly Exa-XXX has very little to do with SPARC, it's basically x86 only. The SPARC supercluster really isn't branded under the EXA product name. At least IBM appliances are not x86 only. Not that this makes me like IBM's appliances more than Oracle's.

                    But you do have a point, IBM is pushing appliances, just like Oracle. Appliances surfaces once in a while, but if you think that the EXA-data and related products are something new and exciting and a first in the industry, you are wrong. It has been tried and done many times, with different degrees of success. The difference is the amount of marketing muscle that Oracle is putting behind their effort compared to what has been done in the past.

                    As for overcommitment. Are you serious ? Why do you think that a product like VMware is so popular ?

                    And performance of multi-tasking operating systems tank when they run more than one process ?

                    Sure if you are happy buying x2-4 times the hardware to run your apps, then sure.... use LDOMs only, my advice to you is to use it in conjunction with containers where it's appropriate.

                    Honestly even the most dense of our Wintel entry level tech guys in offshoring countries that I have problems spelling the names off, know the value of overcommitment in a virtualized environment.

                    I have no problem with people being fanatic about their platform of choice. But there are limits.

                    // Jesper

                    1. implicateorder

                      Re: Fastest?

                      @Jesper

                      I think you are missing the point. The sizes of the workloads I'm referring to prevent themselves from running on vmware-type platforms. Albeit, once we go into the realm of 8-socket 10-core intel-based servers, the price differential between them and a T4-4 disappear quite rapidly.

                      I have deployed hundreds of containers in Solaris and as many ldoms. Although, I've been leery of using ldoms until the T4s came along. And what's more, I've also run a shop with vmware heavily leveraged. VMware isn't bad for small virtual machines. It becomes unwieldy when you start getting into larger sized machines.

                      Also, I was tasked with identifying cost of ownership of a vmware-based as well as a pure oracle/sun solution (just for comparison). I was amazed at how close they were once we factored in costs for vmware enterprise licenses and support, guest os support (RHEL, windows, etc) and the hardware costs (not to mention multiple vendors complicating the support model).

                      It boils down to how efficiently you design your solution and how skilled your engineers are at managing the infrastructure.

                      1. Jesper Frimann
                        Pint

                        Re: Fastest?

                        @implicateorder

                        Yes VMware isn't cheap. We can easily agree upon that. I've doing 'virtualization' for what.... 14 years or so. My personal favourite is clearly POWERVM, although I've done quite a bit of zVM, VMware,VirtualBox and KVM. I have absolutely no problem doing huge virtual machines, on POWERVM. I think the largest we have here is around 32 cores and half a terrabyte of RAM. I have no problem mixing test/production different clients, different firewall zones different OS versions etc etc. on the same physical machine. A machine that runs below 50% average utilization measured on a weekly basis is IMHO not configured right.

                        And this is not something new. This is how things have been on POWER since before SUN started shipping T2 based systems.

                        Well I need to write up a presentation on how T5 fits into our strategy. Although I can see that I don't have to change our strategic roadmap for the SPARC platform. But now I think I'll have a beer.

                        // Jesper

                        1. implicateorder
                          Pint

                          Re: Fastest?

                          @Jesper,

                          At the end of the day, a big factor in deciding what you implement depends on the incumbent(technology) in your shop and how the experience with it has been.

                          Too many times I've seen border-line (in)competent engineers flubbing a implementing and managing a simple design just because they didn't have the dedication to learn a new way of doing things (or because the solution didn't fit into what they considered to be "cool").

                          The T5 is interesting and if my micro-benchmarks of the T4 are an yardstick, the T5 (if it does provide the 20% boost in single thread performance) will outperform most intel-based gear out there. Add the ability to multi-thread across 128-256 strands of silicon and it's a potential winner. Unfortunately it seems that real admins are a rare commodity these days -- too many kiddies driving VCenter think they know infrastructure, if you know what i mean...

                  2. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Fastest?

                    "A lot of what IBM is doing today seems to be in direct response to Oracle's Exa-****."

                    Appliances have been around forever. How long has Teradata been around? Although it wasn't owned by IBM at the time, Exa's architecture looks very similar to what Netezza developed years earlier.

                    Also, IBM was the original integrated systems company. Look at System i and its predecessors. That is a true appliance, where the OS/VM/DB/AS layers were custom engineered for the hardware down to the silicon and vice versa. All of this integration, appliances, etc talk are a validation of the IBM systems' architecture model, the centralized model vs. the distributed model.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Fastest?

            So about $400K-$800K per CPU for RAC server then, How competitive, lol.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Oracle is a software company

            "Oracle's core multiplication factor uses a .25 cpu license for 1 core of a 16-core T3 processor"

            If Oracle gives the SPARC a .25 or a .5 core factor when the Power systems are 1 core factor, that means Oracle thinks a core of Power will run 4x or 2x the workload. If Oracle decided to provide SPARC with a .25 core processor when it actually can handle twice the workload of Power and four times the workload of x86 (whatever their latest benchmark claim is), for instance, then every Oracle software customer in the world would move to SPARC to cut their Oracle licensing cost to 1/8th of their current cost.... Oracle is a software company. They would never allow low margin hardware sales dictate their high margin software support revenue. Oracle tries very hard to ensure that those core factors are accurate because they don't want people reducing their software licensing by moving to one CPU or another.

            Oracle's official position, when their money is at stake, is that SPARC can handle 1/2 or 1/4th, depending on the CPU, the amount of workload per core that Power 7 can handle.

            1. Hans 1 Silver badge
              Boffin

              Re: Oracle is a software company

              No, they want to push SPARC sales. Larry's wet dream is to see you all move to Oracle DB/SPARC. In chess you call that a gambit move. SPARC needs to regain traction in the industry, Oracle's takeover meant that many SUN customers moved off of SPARC - they want them back.

              Oracle provides the only real enterprise-worthy database, that is why they are so big in software ... they wanna use that to leverage more hardware sales. They do not care if they cut their margins slightly for hardware, because the main goal is to inflict pain on the competition.

              Traction, traction, traction ....

        5. Performation

          Re: Fastest?

          To optimize oracle license cost, hunt for the best amd/intel chips with the fewest cores.

          I still see very good dual-cores out there. It's too sad Oracle on purpose limits the virtualization options so that there is no viable option on x86. Running Oracle DB on anyrthing but x86 though is . Not only does x86 have the best per core speed, you pay only 0.5 processor license per x86 core.

      3. Allison Park

        Re: Fastest?

        If Larry really had a higher performance core he would not feel the need to have a handicap core factor of a half a license per core.......but then again its about more cores not more performance.

      4. Performation

        Re: Fastest?

        In my experience coolthread threads give horrible performance. They scale up pretty well within the chip, but each thread is a dwarf snail. So multiplying by the # of threads when those threads are garbage is also not fair.

    5. Kebabbert

      Re: Fastest?

      Bill neal,

      Maybe you missed it, but zec12 is much slower than a decent x86 cpu, which i have explained earlier with links to mainframe experts. In general, one mips equals 4mhz of x86 cpu (according to someone who ported linux to ibm mainframes), in other words 50.000 mips equals 200.000mhz. But a x86 cpu that has 10 cores, running at 3ghz, has in total 30ghz. Thus, you need only a few x86 cpus to match the biggest ibm mainframe with 24 zec12 cpus.

      Why do you think ibm never releases mainframe benchmarks? If they were faster than x86, ibm would have released loads of benches. Just look at all power7 benches, loads of them! There are no mainframe specint benches, for a reason: they are dog slow. Show me any ibm mainframe benchmark!

      Instead mainframes have good io, but that is because they have loads of io help cpus. If you had that many io help cpus on a 8-socket x86 server, they would have better io than mainframes.

    6. Performation

      Re: Fastest?

      Well, what does "fast" mean? I've had it with bogus Sun/Oracle marketing.

      In my book, the fastest processor is the one with best thread strength.

      And Sun/Oracle has had the worst thread strength on the planet for decades.

      Cheap Pentium Pro and Pentium II chips used to run circles around sparc in those days. I bet your average cell phone has better thread strength than a coolthreads chip.

      Sun was pretty good at scaling up to large systems, and even had the top supercomputer for a short while with the E25k, or was it E10k. But the sun processors have never been impressive. I will pass judgement when I see some industry standard benchmarks. If that ever happens.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    CISC vs. RISC

    If I'm reading this right, aren't the architecture changes to the next gen sparc chips going to introduce a change from RISC to CISC? I mean technically the only difference between CISC and RISC these days, due to instruction set creep on CISC and instruction set performance on RISC, is due to the way memory load/store is done[*], IIRC, and well memory scan instructions to me seem to make that difference given that current state of affairs - you are no longer pulling memory values into the registers, you are doing direct scanning on memory. (Dragging this up from my days at Acorn writing string handling libraries for RiscOS mind so its from many moons back...)

    [*] Okay not the only one, but the difference on both sides is shrinking

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: CISC vs. RISC

      The line between RISC and CISC chips has been bluring for years.

      The original ideal of RISC, was that your CPU would have a much reduced set of instructions. This would allow the CPU to be leaner and to be pushed faster. You'd make up for the lack of complex instructions by executing simple instructions very quickly. I believe the VAX CPU was the epitomy of the old CISC design.

      But modern RISC processors have instructions for more complex tasks. This wikipedia article, although possibly a bit out of date, highlights that SPARC, ARM & PowerPC CPUs have AES encryption instructions.

      It's not a one-way movement of ideas though. CISC CPUs added some of the architectual ideas originally introduced by the RISC families.

      1. Kebabbert

        Re: CISC vs. RISC

        No. The original idea of RISC was to discard the microcode, and do it all in hardware instead. Discarding the microcode and simplifying the instruction set, was the big thing. Microcode made eveything that much slower.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't get it.... "mainframe"?

    Where is the "mainframe"? It looks like they are producing another 32 socket Unix system, which Sun has produced forever, with largely the same security, I/O architecture, redundancy/fault tolerance of previous generations of M Series servers. He doesn't even compare it to System z. He compares it an IBM Unix machine... strangely not even IBM's top of the line Unix machine. Where is the "mainframe" comparable?

    1. Lusty Silver badge

      Re: I don't get it.... "mainframe"?

      Well I'm glad someone said this, I was starting to think I was imagining the whole thing!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fast memory search

    Is that half century old associative memory (hardware costly, and can plug up a *nix class machine memory pipe quite well that data has to come from somewhere), or just another state engine slugging along (at least it isn't bottlenecked by the memory pipe)?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Fast memory search

      What is a Unix class machine and why is its memory pipe clogged??

  7. John Savard Silver badge

    I'm Not Surprised

    As SPARC chips had RAS features, competing head-on with IBM in providing their own hardware for the Oracle database seemed like the obvious reason for buying Sun - the only one with synergy to their core business.

    Now that Intel has the RAS features originally confined to the orphan Itanium available on some x86 Xeons, though, which was announced shortly after the Sun purchase, I felt that the purchase was a waste of money - Oracle could have done just as well to compete with IBM with commodity mainframes, and that would avoid vendor lock-in fears by customers as well.

    But since Oracle now owns Sun, it needs Sun to succeed and be profitable too, so as not to have lost money. So putting Oracle on SPARC helps to do that.

    I think that Oracle faces great challenges - and so does IBM, since, at least on the zSeries machines, it's trying to do the same thing as Apple - use their popular software to charge premium prices for hardware. That's difficult to keep up for long when other people know how to build and program computers.

    1. kit

      Re: I'm Not Surprised

      As I had said when Oracle were to buy Sun, Larry's comment to compete with IBM, was no more than sale's rhetoric . It was IBM first to use copper chip interconnect, Edram, SOI, strain silicone in their chip manufacturing. It would would very difficult for Larry to beat IBM, by using just words rather than deeds.

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. David 14
    Meh

    Now... if they can make a quality firmware hypervisor and beef up Oracle VM For SPARC to be more competitive in terms of features and stability as IBM PowerVM, I would happily return to the Oracle Solaris fold.

    The reality of what I deal with is that few customers need massive oracle-only environments, so virtualization is critical to provide for isolated mixed workloads, and only licensing the amount of compute power you require to do the work.

    Oracle has artificially, IMHO, kept the Intel x86/x64 world at bay simply by not supporting sub-licensing in VMware hosts, so that there i really no competition for a mixed workload environment there... the software licensing costs are too darn high for all but large enterprise customers.

    My $0.02

    1. h3

      Not going to happen IBM could make something better than either VMware or anything Oracle could do but it is not in their interests to.

      If there is a startup who might be able to then it would be bought by IBM even if they don't do much with the technology at all.

      Transistive could have really been interesting if not for the IBM buyout.

  10. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    And just how much is the Oracle RDBMS going to cost?

    when it is a per core license?

    Save heaps on the H/W cost, spent it all (and a lot more probably) on software

    1. Phil 4
      Thumb Up

      Re: And just how much is the Oracle RDBMS going to cost?

      Actually, now that SPARC T5 has proven performance leadership from integer/floating point to DB, SAP, OLTP and Java plus *all* Oracle software (Siebel, Peoplesoft, JD Edwards, etc), the SPARC T5 is now the reigning price/performance leader *including* Oracle Software that’s licensed on per core basis. SPARC T5 has the same 0.5 multiplier as Xeon and is half that of the Power7/Power7+ 1.0 multiplier so you'll require atleast 2x more licenses running Power7+ for the same performance, and compared to Xeon, you'll need roughly 25-50% more licenses on Xeon based on latest results depending on workload. You can see the details here: https://blogs.oracle.com/BestPerf/

      1. KjetilS

        Re: And just how much is the Oracle RDBMS going to cost?

        It seems like we have our very own Oracle employee on this forum

      2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Gimp

        Re: And just how much is the Oracle RDBMS going to cost?

        > SPARC T5 has the same 0.5 multiplier as Xeon and is half that of the Power7/Power7+ 1.0 multiplier

        Which is all the fault of the Power CPU architecture, of course. SPARC is THAT good.

        Bring out the Gimp!

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And just how much is the Oracle RDBMS going to cost?

        "SPARC T5 has the same 0.5 multiplier as Xeon and is half that of the Power7/Power7+ 1.0 multiplier so you'll require atleast 2x more licenses running Power7+ for the same performance, and compared to Xeon, you'll need roughly 25-50% more licenses on Xeon based on latest results depending on workload."

        In order to believe that, you have to believe that Oracle doesn't care about their software revenue. Do you honestly think Oracle wants the massive install base on Power to say "terrific, we will buy your servers and just send you half the cost of our Oracle software support bill next month." The amount of profit Oracle makes on software support makes their entire hardware division look like a popsicle stand. They would never trade new SPARC server sales for massive reductions in new software licensing/support. If Oracle's core factor table says that SPARC is a .5 and Power is a 1 core factor, that means Oracle thinks that Power per core can handle twice the workload of SPARC. Their core factor table does not align with their benchmark claims, but in only one of those instances does Oracle have money at stake for misstating the performance levels.

  11. tom 99
    Devil

    Fastest ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H processor..?

    Congrats to Oracle!

    They finally beat almost 5-year old IBM TPC-C result for non-clustered configuration. I'm wondering if IBM would benchmark big POWER7 system, but probably they will not.

    From the processor speed perspective and Oracle's claims, T5 core is still slower in tpmC than POWER6 core by 33%... Interesting how good IBM's CPU was, especially when you compare POWER6 65nm litography with 28nm litography of T5 :)

    1. Phil 4
      WTF?

      Re: Fastest ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H processor..?

      Yeah and even funnier that IBM hasn’t published a high end non-clustered Power7 config ever since the Power 595 result was released eons ago. Why? Maybe because Power7 and Power7+ has worse per core performance than Power6 and IBM doesn’t want everyone to realize this? It was nice in the old days to be dual core extremely high GHZ, great for single thread, poor on throughput but todays world has changed with more throughput challenges being addressed by multi-core and multi-thread CPUs. Problem is, Power7/Power7+ cant do both. Either high GHZ with few cores/CPU but high per core perf or low GHz but with 8- cores but with poor per core perf but high throughput. You have to pick one.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fastest ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H processor..?

        "low GHz but with 8- cores"

        I wouldn't call the 8 core Power 7+'s 4.4 Ghz clock speed "low"... on account of it being the fastest commercial processor in the world with the exception of z/EC. The real elephant in the room is how much faster Power can feed all of those cores. With 80 MB of L3 cache and 100g/s DDR3 lanes, it has literally 10x the cache of T5.

        1. kit

          Re: Fastest ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H processor..?

          With the advent of 3D Chips (TSV) and photonic interconnects, I am quiet sure that IBM will blow every other chip makers (including Intel) hell out the surface of the earth.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Fastest ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H processor..?

            Yes, and carbon nano as a replacement for silicon.

      2. Jesper Frimann
        Thumb Down

        Re: Fastest ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H processor..?

        @Phil 4.

        Ehh.. Again you don't get it. Why run a costly benchmark when you are already number 1 ?

        The rest of your post is just unsubstantiated speculation, without any merit in reality. Why don't you just focus on the good products that Oracle have released and stop the FUD'ing. You should be glad, Oracle just revitalized the UNIX marked, with some really nice products.

        // Jesper

  12. Mr Nelson

    Larry Ellison is it again claiming he surpassed IBM Power's performance. Don't believe that for a second. Here are the facts. Very conveniently Oracle compares server performance based on number of processors, a.k.a, chips or sockets. Processors/Chips/sockets are not a real measurement of server performance for the simple reason that different processors have different core counts. For example, a 2-processor server from one vendor may have a total of 16 cores while another may have 32 cores. That's precisely the case with Oracle's T5 family. Most of Oracle's so called World Records are based on thsi premise. For example, for SAP performance Oracle compares the 8-processor T5-8 against the benchmark result of the 8-processor Power 760. Apples to apples, Oracle says, but the T5-8 had 128 cores and the Power 760 had 48 cores. Clearly not a fair comparison. In reality the Power 760 beats the T5-8 in Per-Core performance: 2,900 SAPS/core vs 1,726 SAPS/core for the T5-8. It seems like Power is still the performance king and by a good margin. Oracle does the same thing in almost of benchmarks it announced during the announcement.

    1. Kebabbert

      Ibm marketing...

      That must be one of the weirdest arguments in existence. Just because ibm has faster cores, then ibm has faster cpus? You dont see the error in this ibm reasoning? Is oracle claiming they have fastest cpus or the fastest cores? This is pure marketing from ibm, and its supporters.

      Let me rephrase it this way: power6 used 5ghz to achieve a tenth of the work as one sparc t2 at 1.6ghz on siebel v8 benchmarks. Ibm needed 56ghz of cpu power, and sun used 6ghz to reach equal performance in official siebel v8 benches. Ibm used 10x more ghz than sun, this must mean that sun was 10x faster, right? Does this sound logical? If we look ghz wise, then sun had a clear lead over power. Does this mean sun had in general, a faster cpu? No. It was faster on some benches.

      You need to look at the entire cpu. Not ghz to ghz, nor core to core. Oracle claims they have faster cpus, and this is true. If ibm claims they have faster cores, it is also true. But nobody can buy cores, they can only buy cpus.

      1. seven of five

        Re: Ibm marketing...

        As long as oracle software is licensed per core, Mr Nelsons argument is valid. Unlike yours.

      2. tom 99

        Re: Ibm marketing...

        > But nobody can buy cores

        you are obviously wrong. With IBM Power, you pay per core license, which is 80-90% of total core price. So you may have 2 8-core P7s and 11 licenses if you wish. Optimal for system price and for software licenses.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ibm marketing...

        Cores are discrete processors which can share cache and I/O paths, depending on the design... If you are going to follow that line of argument, IBM, or anyone, could say that their entire system board with four sockets is one processor. Yes, there may be I/O paths and shared memory between the individual sockets, but it is really one processor. A processor is to a system board as a core is to a processor. You lose all meaning if you do not compare CPUs at the core level.

        As have been mentioned, IBM sells cores individually as a standard practice. It is common to have, for instance, a 24 core system with 16 cores activated with more to be activated as required. Everything Oracle sells is also based on the core and the relative workload capability of that core, their core factor licensing model.

      4. Mr Nelson
        Thumb Down

        Re: Ibm marketing...

        You are simply wrong. The number of cores affects the cost of the hardware, not just the number of CPUs. Do you think you'll pay the same for processors regardless of the core count? A 2-processor / 8 core box doesn't cost the same as a 2-processor / 20-core box. That applies to hardware as well as software, especially for Oracle licenses. When Oracle is benchmarketing, processors equal sockets but when licensing Per Processor then processors are cores. Nicely done. Try buying Oracle licenses based on processors = sockets. Sizings for applications like SAP are done taking the SAPS per Core performance as the critical factor, not processors/sockets. If Oracle wants people to think of performance based just on processors they should license their products the same way and then they can argue about the merits of whole CPUs.

        1. Kebabbert

          Re: Ibm marketing...

          No, you are wrong and distorting facts.

          Let us be clear here, exaclty what is oracle claiming? To have the worlds fastest cpus. And they have. This is a fact, look at the benches, for instance specint where oracle crushes ibm.

          Ibm and you, are reasoning like this: ibm has faster cores (true) => ibm has faster cpus (false). This is called distorting facts, at best, and pure fud at worst.

          Sure, ibm might have faster cores which is a economical factor when you license software, but the discussion is not about price/performance. The discussion is about who have the fastest cpus. Not the fastest cores. And who have the fastest cpus today?

          If you think that stronger cores are important pricing factors, then say so. Dont try to turn that argument into that ibm still has the worlds fastest cpus - that would be an outright lie and fud.

          I am not surprised that t5 is faster than power7, because it is newer. I want to compare same gen cpus, power8 vs t6(?). That would be interesting. Anyonecan win over old tech, just dont brag about it. It is nothing honourable in beating old tech. I dont consider power7+ new tech, sure it had a slight impeovement, but still it is the same generation as p7. Hence, t5 should win over p7+ too. If not, t5 sucks because it is the new generation. Same generation comparisons says something.

          1. Kebabbert

            Re: Ibm marketing...

            The above post of mine, was adressing mr nelson

          2. Mr Nelson
            FAIL

            Re: Ibm marketing...

            No, Kebbabert, you are the one distorting the real facts. You want to hang on to a claim with no real value to anyone. Customers do buy per core and that's what matters when choosing servers. It matters for licensing and it matters for server costs. The only reason you hide behind useless processor claims is because those SPARC boxes have 16 cores per processor, and so the number of cores is what makes the difference in your performance numbers not the number of CPUs. So to you a 1-processor box with 8 cores should be equal to a 1-processor box with 16 cores so that poor Oracle can have its useless performance claims validated.

            1. Kebabbert

              Re: Ibm marketing...

              @Mr Nelson

              "...No, Kebbabert, you are the one distorting the real facts...Customers do buy per core and that's what matters when choosing servers. It matters for licensing and it matters for server costs...."

              And I quote you again from an above post:

              "Larry Ellison is it again claiming he surpassed IBM Power's performance. Don't believe that for a second. Here are the facts. Very conveniently Oracle compares server performance based on number of processors, a.k.a, chips or sockets. Processors are not a real measurement of server performance for the simple reason that different processors have different core counts....In reality the Power 760 beats the T5-8 in Per-Core performance... It seems like Power is still the performance king and by a good margin".

              .

              This is just too weird. I dont understand how you can reason like this? Am I the one who is "distorting the facts" or is it someone else? Look, who has the world record today? Is it Oracle or is it IBM? According to you, it is IBM. Are you telling the truth? If you need to get the highest possible performance, which vendor do you go to then? IBM or Oracle? Assume a customer says:

              -We need to get the highest SAP performance for 8-socket servers. Whom should I choose, IBM or Oracle?

              Mr Nelsons answer:

              -You should choose IBM because they have faster cores.

              -But according to official benchmarks, IBM reaches 139,000 SAP and Oracle reaches 221,000 SAP on 8-socket servers.

              -Yes, that is true. But remember that IBM has faster cores, so therefore IBM is faster!

              -Que? 139.000 SAP is faster than 221.000 SAP???

              -Yes.

              Mr Nelson, how in earth do you explain that 139.000 > 221.000? Because mathematically, and logically, you are wrong.

              Of course, if you factor in performance/core you and IBM are correct. But Oracle is not discussing performance/core, Oracle is discussing performance/cpu. Nothing else. Oracle is claiming they have the fastest cpus today. Are they wrong, do you mean? Is this also logically true, you mean?

              IBM have faster cores (true) => IBM have faster cpus (not true)

              .

              .

              Back in the days, what would people have said if Sun reasoned like this:

              -1.6GHz T2+ is half as fast as 5GHz POWER6 on this benchmark. But if you compare GHz to GHz, then you see that T2+ gets more work done than the POWER6. Ergo, T2+ is the faster cpu! IBM are distorting the facts, dont believe a word of what IBM says! Sun gets more work done per GHz and therefore Sun has the performance crown, by a good margin. T2+ is the fastest cpu!

              -But... POWER6 has a higher score on the benchmark, should not we buy POWER6 servers?

              -No, that would be silly, because the T2+ gets more work done per GHz!

              -But we dont care about Performance/GHz, we only care about the highest performance?

              -Trust me on this. Dont believe a word of what IBM says. T2+ is faster.

              -Que???

              If Sun would have reasoned like this back then, everybody would have thought that Sun would be crazy and could not be trusted. IBM reasons like this today, but that is not a problem apparently. I have heard this reasoning from other IBM supporters, for instance, someone here claimed that because POWER6 has faster cores than Intel Xeon, the POWER6 cpu is faster than Intel Xeon, even though the Intel Xeon scored higher on LINPACK benches. Strange. POWER6 scored lower on LINPACK, and Intel Xeon scored higher on LINPACK - and still POWER6 is the superior choice if you need the highest LINPACK performance? I will never understand IBMers. They have turned upside down on the laws of logic.

              1. Mr Nelson

                Re: Ibm marketing...

                Kebabbert, Nice try but your whole premise is wrong. When companies evaluate servers they don't ask: "We need to get the highest SAP performance for 8-socket servers." Nobody buys Unix servers based on processor=sockets because that doesn't mean or do anything for them. It's a useless metric. If Oracle believes customers will do that they will be sorely disappointed and will continue to lose market share at a rapid pace as they have been ever since they bought Sun. Only in some cases in the x86 world people look at the socket level to make server decisions. For example, when VMware or Microsoft license counts are at stake. But even in those cases they must be very careful about how many cores the servers have, like in the case of also needing Oracle database and Oracle RAC licenses which could cost them a fortune if they ignore the core count.

                When looking for SAP servers what customers ask is "What server can meet my performance requirements?" If for example they need 200,000 SAPS, they couldn't care less if it has 8 or 16 or 40 processors, what they care about is having a server that can handle 200K SAPS. Assuming the customer wants all those SAPS in a single server (rarely the case) then the Power 760 wouldn't be the server because it maxes out at around 140k SAPS. They probably use the Power 770 or if the customer wants to buy based on published SAP benchmarks then the Power 780. The Power 780 supports 311,720 SAPS with just 96 cores installed, but unlike the T5-8 the customer doesn't have to purchase the entire server with 12 processors and 96 cores but just what it needs to support those 200k SAPS; that is, 62 cores (200,000 / 3,247 SAPS per core). That's how SAP servers are sized, not for SAP application costs but to know how much server capacity they need to run the workloads. Do you know how many Power 780 processors the customer would need to purchase to support 200k SAPS? Eight. Yet another blow to your performance premise. And like I said in my previous comment, unlike the T5-8 they don't even have to buy all the CPU and memory capacity at once because of comprehensive Capacity on Demand features for cores and memory. So they'll save money on hardware and software by paying for capacity as they grow. And they can grow up to 311,720 SAPS without changing hardware if they choose or need to. No customer is going to come back to IBM and say: "I'm so disappointed you didn't propose a server that only supports 8 Processors and no more because that was the most critical requirement we had. We are disqualifying you for not meeting that most important, non-negotiable requirement." You would love that reaction, but no, it's not real life.

          3. Performation

            Re: Ibm marketing...

            Where is the spec benchmark\ you speak of? I go to spec.org religiously to check for new CPU benchmarks, and Oracle hasn't put any numbers on the board for sparc for years.

    2. Phil 4

      Well Mr. Nelson, what really matters is how much performance the SPARC T5-8 delivers *and how much does it cost to buy and run* vs equivalents from IBM or others. So while in certain benchmarks there may be advantages or disadvantages in per core performance, the end result is TCO or $/performance. And by the way, SAP licenses per user not by core so the per core calculations are irrelevant!

      If you were to price out the SPARC T5-8 and Power 760+ SAP configurations (with HW, OS, Support), SPARC T5-8 beats Power7+ by 3x in Price/Performance!

      Chips Cores $US List $/SAPs

      IBM Power 760 8 48 $718,801 $5.16

      SPARC T5-8 8 128 $365,489 $1.65

      TPC-C - Top Ten Performance Results has full disclosures

      http://www.tpc.org/tpcc/results/tpcc_perf_results.asp

      TPC-C $/tpmC

      SPARC T5-8 $0.55

      IBM Power 780 (MHB) $0.69

      IBM Power 780 (MHB) Clustered $1.38

      1. Jesper Frimann
        Holmes

        Phil 4 and Prices

        Phil, it's kind of hard to figure out your numbers when you mix POWER 780 and POWER 760 and then write full disclosures and point to the TPC-C page. There isn't a TPC-C submission for the POWER 760.

        Now as for the disclosure reports, then reading the report for the T5-8 was as usual, when reading an Oracle submission, like watching a pickpocket in action.

        Distractions that are targeted at drawing your attention while he/she empties your pockets. (sorry for the harsh language Oracle, but as so many others I think you are not playing the Benchmark game fairly).

        Again the Oracle licenses you don't buy, you lease it, for 3 years, and the support is a web only support.

        Now if you really had to pay for the licenses and have 3 years worth of REAL Oracle support the cost would be 64 x 47500 USD + 3 x 64 x 10450 USD or 5046400 USD - DIscounts.

        That would lift the $/tpmC to 0,79 USD, for the T5-8, again more expensive than the POWER 780 on a per transaction basis. (not that comparing a 1.2 million submission and a 8.5 million is that fair, but you started it.)

        Furthermore you seem really pleased with the price of the T5-8, the list prices listed in the TPC-C submission is 651.458 USD and 0 USD in maintenance. 0 USD in maintenance ? That must mean 3 years of warranty. BUT NO, last on the report there is a

        "Oracle Premier Hardware Support" that cost a whopping 1.001.118 USD.

        Now not putting that expense where it should be up with the server is IMHO purposely misleading people. I guess that Oracle, as usual, will get a slap over their fingers for that one.

        This is typical Larry, we'll charge you for the server, and then TURBO charge you for service.

        So basically in your little comparison with the POWER 760, you can add a million USD for the T5-8 and 0 USD for the POWER 760 as it comes with 3 years of warrenty.

        Now that kind of screws up your whole argument doesn't it ?

        Car magazine economics is something completely different from doing TCO calculations in RL.

        // Jesper

      2. Mr Nelson

        Funny that you mention it. Let's take a look at your "real" cost examples. For argument's sake, let's assume for a second that your Power 760 cost is accurate, then we have a total cost advantage for someone who wants to run Oracle databases on the IBM box. I guess your forgot that people need to pay for database licenses,? But you didn't include that in your cost estimate. Since it only has 48 Oracle licenses based on Oracle's Per Processor policy and the T5-8 has 64 (128 * 0.5), that's 16 additional Oracle licenses for the T5-8 at a whopping $760,000 more just for the extra licenses. The you add 5-Year year maintenance to that and you end up paying well over a million dollars more for the T5-8.

        Now let's look at TPC-C costs. If you go to www.tpc.org and look at at both the IBM and Oracle documentation for the benchmark, you'll see some issues pop up. When including database costs in its TPC-C benchmarks, IBM uses enterprise type of database license and maintenance costs. Oracle is pricing its Oracle DB EE and the Partitioning support as a 3 year TERM license so 50% of 'full' price and then then applying the T5's 0.5 core factor. SW support is "server incident" for $2300/year/server (which allows only web-based submission of up to 10 incidents per year). This all saves Oracle in the neighborhood of $4 Million on the list price as compared to using Perpetual SW licenses and Premier Support for the DB. In addition, where's the Maintenance/Support in the pricing for the server or storage? Who in their right mind would run an enterprise system with web-based server incident support, and for just 10 incidents per year and no hardware maintenance? Oracle has the right to use whatever pricing method they choose to use for a benchmark, but if you want to claim apples-to-apples pricing then use comparable configurations.

      3. Mr Nelson

        Phil 4,

        It seems you greatly exaggerated by quite a bit the cost of the Power 760 with the CPU and memory capacity used in the SAP benchmark (48 CPU cores and 1 TB of memory). The cost is in the neighborhood of $470k and that includes 3-Year/24x7 support for hardware and software. That cost figure also includes PowerVM virtualization software. I suspect that the support costs you listed for the T5-8 is not even 3-Year 24x7 support. And I have already proven that Oracle DB software would cost a lot more for the T5-8 due to the need for 16 additional DB licenses at $47,500 for each license plus $10,450 software maintenance Per Year. For a 5-Year period that would be $99,750 per license, or $1,596,000 total just for the 16 additional licenses. Ouch! It seems your 3x cost advantage claim has evaporated and turned into a big disadvantage, more like in the neighborhood of 2x in favor of the Power 760 when database licenses are included; as it should because databases were used in the benchmark.

        Furthermore, the Power 760 has enterprise features the T5-8 could only dream off, such as CPU Capacity on Demand, that is CPU as in cores, so that IT doesn't have to pay for all CPU cores and software licenses from the start (including for Oracle DB), if they don't need to for their workload's size. Then they can activate and pay for only the additional CPU capacity they need as the workload grows, and do so dynamically and without downtime. What a concept. That's unlike the T5-8 where you are stuck with the entire box and required licenses all at once. The Power 760 also has Active Memory Expansion (yet another feature the SPARC line can only wish to have), for real-time compression/decompression of memory so that less physical memory is needed for SAP workloads. Because it actually works, Active Memory Expansion is officially supported by SAP (see SAP Note 1464605 - Active Memory Expansion (AME)).

        For those who don't have access to this SAP Note, here's an extract of what the note says:

        "The AIX feature Active Memory Expansion for IBM POWER systems is a new technology for expanding a system's effective memory capacity. It is available starting with POWER7. Active Memory Expansion employs memory compression technology to transparently compress in-memory data, allowing more data to be placed into memory and thus expanding the memory capacity of POWER systems. Utilizing Active Memory Expansion can improve system utilization and increase a system's throughput."

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I just checked

    And I'm all out of trust for Larry and Oracle.

    Not that he's worried, apparently.

  14. David Halko
    Go

    SPARC T5 - Well Done!

    Single thread speed on a T5 S3 core is 30% faster than the previous T4 core...

    Double the sockets per single glue-less chassis from 4 to 8...

    Double the cores per single socket from 8 to 16...

    Double the threads (vcpu's) per socket from 64 to 128...

    Quad 10-Gigbit Ethernet copper twistet pair per chassis...

    A single piece of T5 SPARC silicon (v.s. gluing together multi-chip modules)...

    There is really nothing like this in the industry - truly ground-breaking.

    This is really an amazing processor, an amazing platform!

    (The M5 processor has me curious, what is the use-case for big-cache with fewer cores?)

    1. Jesper Frimann
      Childcatcher

      Re: SPARC T5 - Well Done!

      @David Halko.

      "The M5 processor has me curious, what is the use-case for big-cache with fewer cores?"

      Real Life workloads. Again the T5-X series of machines are what they are, entry to lower midrange servers, again I think that the T5-8 is one bridge to far. But the M5-32 looks like a proper highend server with the appropriate features etc etc. A good replacement for the M[9|8]00 and older highend SPARC's out there.

      // jesper

    2. Performation

      Re: SPARC T5 - Well Done!

      30% better single thread performance than T4 is nice.

      However, SUN never ever published any benchmark showing how fast it was on T4.

      They announced thatthe T4 was "MUCH BETTER than T3".

      However, there was no benchmark published with T3 single thread perf either.

      I am tired of these marketing monkeys.

  15. Stephen Channell
    Facepalm

    So Sparc T5 beats a 3-yr old x86 using a int vector instruction that nothing uses

    So Oracle adds a vector search instruction to Sparc T5 that enables it to write a really fast “SPECint_rate 2006” benchmark, and promises that “some time soon” a version of Oracle DBMS & Java will use this instruction for fast scans, and maybe this instruction will be used enough not just to justify its addition to every instruction decode, but to run faster than a three year old Xeon.

    Fortunately for Oracle SPECint does not need complex multithreaded locking (like er, a database or a JVM GC), which might have suggested that (Power & Xeon) Transactional Memory instructions might be more useful.

    Fortunately for Oracle “mainframe” kinda excludes GPGPU/MIC for int vector search handling, but misses on FPGA (which is the modern equivalent of mainframe microcode programming) that makes the IBM Netezza so fast.. but then Netezza is a DBMS appliance and Oracle chose a SPECint benchmark.

    I guess “leadership” of the Oracle engineers implementing int vector search with Sparc will not have the time to do some coding to use the Intel Xeon Phi MIC 80-core x86 which spanks all-comers on int vector work, which is a shame because Intel’s BCD support would be more useful with Oracle’s BCD “NUMBER” types.

  16. Stevie Silver badge

    Hurrah!

    Now he'll finally be able to concentrate on getting Java fixed so software will run properly and Trojans won't seep in.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Hurrah!

      Stevie stop coding in basic on that Sinclair, ja?

  17. Beachrider

    Oracle needs to get these results published when the processor is available...

    The point to these benchmarks is to publish results that others can check. The very-interesting T5-8 result is for a machine that won't be available to the public for 6 months.

    The base numbers lead one to think that Oracle has somehow conquered their memory-starving issue that had relegated Sparc to Webservers in past years.

    Comparisons to 3-6 year old machines isn't fair at all. Everyone does it with TPCC, though.

    1. Kebabbert

      Re: Oracle needs to get these results published when the processor is available...

      What "memory starving" or "cache starving"? You do know that the even the old t2+ with 2 mb cache in total,was 10x as fast as the power6 on some workloads? If niagara cpus had cache or memory problems, they would never have any world records back in the days, nor beat 5ghz cpus with huge caches such as power6.

    2. Performation

      Re: Oracle needs to get these results published when the processor is available...

      Well, I have always found TPC-C benchmarks extremely easy to "cheat" on. The IO setup, how thew application is implemented, partitioned, the database tuned etc, plays just as big a role as the capability of the CPUS. So TPC-C is a rather useless benchmark for CPU or even for systems. Too many moving pieces and no way to get apples and apples.

  18. jeffast
    FAIL

    POWER7 780 SpecInt results are higher than Larry's chart

    The most recent 780 SpecInt rate result is 6130/4460. Why does Larry say it is 2770? Oh, because then he would could not claim the highest result. Expected behaviour

    http://www.spec.org/cpu2006/results/res2012q4/cpu2006-20121002-24653.html

    1. Kebabbert

      Re: POWER7 780 SpecInt results are higher than Larry's chart

      Maybe because ibm used 16 cpus in your link, whereas oracle used 8 cpus? To draw any conclusions, you need to normalize, and use equal amount of cpus.

      1. Jesper Frimann
        Happy

        Re: POWER7 780 SpecInt results are higher than Larry's chart

        No Kebabbert.

        Larry is misleading, the server that he is comparing with, the POWER 780-MHC is not a product that is sold any more, so it's marketing bull.

        Actually IBM is not selling a 8 socket POWER server right now as the POWER 780 and 770 have both moved to 16 sockets.

        // Jesper

        1. Kebabbert

          Re: POWER7 780 SpecInt results are higher than Larry's chart

          But the POWER 780-MHC is still a POWER7 server, right? So it gives a good picture of how fast an 8-socket POWER7 server is. The ballpark specint numbers an 8-socket POWER7 would give. If IBM resells an 8-socket POWER7 server, it would not be much faster than the 780-MHC, it would be as fast.

          8 socket POWER7 to 8 socket T5, that sounds fair to me. If you want to compare 16 socket POWER7 to 8 socket T5, why stop there, why dont you compare a 32 socket P795 to a T5 as well? Does that sound fair?

          1. Jesper Frimann
            Facepalm

            Re: POWER7 780 SpecInt results are higher than Larry's chart

            @Kebabbert.

            You are peddling. Hello, Larry is comparing a last generation (although only a + generation in POWER terms) of his competitors product to his own brand new sparkling product. And furthermore a competitor product that is not sold any more.

            It would be just as unfair as IBM putting out a brand new product today and comparing it to the T4.

            Now if he had peddled a story about replacing for example ageing POWER5/6 or 3 year old Generation 1 of POWER7 servers or Itanium servers for that matter, with new T5 equipment and how this project could pay for itself in savings.. and be much cheaper.. then sure ok no problem. The problem is, what would be one of the major contributors in paying for such a project would be savings in SW Licenses.. In Larry's brain ORACLE LICENSES.

            Now a vendor like HP, Fujitsu or even IBM (unless you talked to their software division) would have no problems doing something like that, cause they deliver the whole package, and have different sources of revenue. Not Larry.. Software is pretty much it for him.

            But he is doing a kind of bang for the cost of the server buck comparison, and that is bullsh*t when using a server from the competitor that is no longer sold.

            If he really wanted to compare against a current POWER product why didn't he compare the four socket T5-4 against the four socket POWER 760 ?

            The POWER 760 does 2170 specint_rate2006, what does the T5-4 do ? Most likely in the 1900 range, judging from the slides of the T5-8 result. So why didn't he do that comparison ?

            Again, even though the T5 series of product are really good products, he still needs to load his launch up with Bullsh*t, and that is IMHO sad, cause the T5 products look like good solid products.

            Now if you compare the POWER 760 against it's predecessor the POWER 750, then it's 2170 specint_rate2006 versus 1,150 specint_rate2006 for the POWER 750 using POWER7@3.6GHz. So as you can see, there is a big difference between POWER7 and POWER7+ products.

            Although again I think the T5-8 is a bit of a niche product, I'd even go so far as to call it a marketing products.

            It lacks the RAS features that is needed of a product with that kind of throughput, IMHO it makes it kind of irrelevant. And that is also what I've put in the presentation I will give to my colleges in the individual countries in my region. The T5-8 is not a product that we should put in our data centers. The SPARC servers of choice should be the T5-2, T5-4 and if needed the M5-32.

            // jesper

            1. Kebabbert

              Re: POWER7 780 SpecInt results are higher than Larry's chart

              "... Larry is comparing a last generation (although only a + generation in POWER terms) of his competitors product to his own brand new sparkling product. And furthermore a competitor product that is not sold any more...."

              But the question is not if the 780-MHC is sold or not. The question is, does it use POWER7 or POWER7+? Because if it uses POWER7+ and still not sold, it does not matter. Then it is a valid benchmark. But if 780-MHC is sporting an old POWER7 cpu, then it is not fair of Larry. He should compare T5 to POWER7+. Not T5 to POWER7. As long as Larry compares T5 to POWER7+ I dont care if the POWER7+ server is sold or not.

              .

              .

              "...If he really wanted to compare against a current POWER product why didn't he compare the four socket T5-4 against the four socket POWER 760 ?..."

              Because T5 scales better. By comparing 8 socket servers, he shows the good scaling of T5. The more cpus, the better the T5 servers perform. Of course, if the 780-MHC sports older POWER7 cpus, then Larry is unfair and should never have done that comparison. In that case, it is better to compare 4-socket servers. Alternatively, double up the IBM 4-socket benchmark to simulate 8-socket servers (but that assumes that IBM scales as good from 4-socket to 8-socket. Which is not obvious)

              1. Jesper Frimann
                Holmes

                Re: POWER7 780 SpecInt results are higher than Larry's chart

                @Kebabbert.

                The POWER 780-MHC is a POWER7 based machine, it is not sold anymore, furthermore it's a product that is classified as a highend product, with RAS features that puts it in a total different league than the T5-8.

                The current POWER 780 machine that is POWER7+ based is called a 780-MHD.

                So Larry is taking his best midrange server, and constructs a comparison that favours him the most. And where as this is a commonly used practise, then Larry is way beyond pushing the envelope.

                IMHO he is just making himself look like a dork to everyone but the most diehard Sunshiners.

                // Jesper

  19. Performation
    Meh

    Show me the CPU2006 benchmarks

    Then I will believe a third of what Sun/Oracle marketing puts out,. As Unix company they were always my favorite, until one day they came to our company with a chief architect and presented future Sun roadmap that showed only coolthreads. Already at this time Sun was lagging the best, but at least they were roughly in the same ballpark as HP/IBM,, and had an edge with the software. I have inherited some of Amdahl's skepticism of the blind reliance of paraleliism to achieve everything. You can use if for most stuff, but not ALL. If I want to go to Europe, I get on a flight with 200 others and it takes 8 hours. With coolthreads, I get on a boat with 1000's of others, and It takes me a week, to get there, but the throughput of the boat is better than that of the flight.

    The T5 is a continuation of the T1,T2,T3,T4.

    I have always used specint rate benchmarks as a fair and easy benchmark for capacity planning across many different platforms. And in teh few cases where single thread performance matter to ,me, , I have used specint. These benchmark have tracket remarkably well with our application, and seem to be used by most serious industry contenders. Sun (and Oracle ) however, time and time again, have very selectively published benchmarks. While we never would expect specint numbers for coolthread chips to be great, it is very usefui to know. And when Sun an announced T4 with a lot of fanfare, boasting about both throughput and improved thread strength, I was waiting for the CPU2006 numbers. I am still waiting. Sun has published neither specint rate nor specint. My advice to Oracle is to shut up or to publish.

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