This editorial was originally published on Mar 4, 2008. It is being rerun as Steve is on vacation.
Editor’s note: The current TPC-E record is 4,614.22 tspE.
The product hasn’t even been released, but there are already two TPC-E benchmarks completed for it. Neither of these is a world record in price performance, but the NEC benchmark takes the top Performance slot with 1,126tpsE transactions. That’s nearly double the previous SQL Server 2005 mark from Unisys, but to be fair it was twice the CPUs and cores, though the same number of threads. And a significantly larger price tag.
What’s even more interesting is the IBM entry, which took 3rd place on the Performance chart and 5th place on the Price/Performance chart. However this system is a smaller system, a 4 way system (quad core) that used the same amount of RAM as the 2nd place system (128GB) and much less than the top performance system (512GB).
There was also an ETL world record, where Len Wyatt posted a blog entry about his team loading 1TB of data from flat files, moved across a network and loaded into a SQL Server database in less than 30 minutes. The actual time was 1794 seconds, which I’m sure excited Len and his team.
Now benchmarks are just that, they’re a way to compare systems using a common set of application software and measurements. They don’t necessarily apply to the real world as there are all sorts of tricks (disabling checkpoints, RAW volumes, etc) that companies play to tweak these systems. Some of these shouldn’t be allowed in my mind, like RAID 0 disks, which wouldn’t be in a production system.
These are new benchmarks, so it’s hard to tell what impact or relation they have on the real world. These new systems also used Windows 2008, which might have affected the speed at which things get done. There are definitely networking improvements in there, so time will tell if these are really, really fast systems or just what we’ll expect from the new versions of Microsoft servers.
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