Unisys Takes Top Profusion Benchmark Spot

Unisys Corp. (www.unisys.com) continues to tune the performance of its eight-way servers based on Intel Corp.’s Profusion chipset in a race for bragging rights to the fastest machine.

The company was first to reveal results on a Profusion-based system in June, when it boasted 37,757.23 transactions per minute (TpmC) under the TPC-C benchmark. The Transaction Processing Performance Council (www.tpc.org) maintains the TPC-C benchmark for measuring online transaction processing performance. Compaq Computer Corp. leapfrogged Unisys in September with two scores above 40,000 TpmC on its Thunder and Lightning Profusion systems. Now Unisys has reclaimed the top Profusion result for the TPC-C with a benchmark of 40,670.05 TpmC.

The June number on a Unisys Aquanta ES2085R was important to Intel’s goal of demonstrating that its long-awaited Profusion chipset could approach linear scalability over the performance of its established four-way chipset. Microsoft Corp. promoted the result as evidence of the scalability of both Windows NT Server 4.0, Enterprise Edition, and SQL Server 7.0, Enterprise Edition.

The benchmark places Wintel in a competitive position against low-end RISC/Unix systems, especially on price.

"These tests are a wake-up call for enterprises investing in Unix/RISC technology," says Don Johnson, vice president and general manager of Aquanta Enterprise Server Business at Unisys. "They constitute a clear signal that, when combined with enterprise computing characteristics added by Unisys, Intel-based servers running Microsoft operating system and database software have achieved the performance needed to push serious, data-center-class electronic-business computing to the next level."

Unisys draws a comparison to TPC-C results for Hewlett-Packard’s 9000 Model N4000 Enterprise Server of 49,308 TpmC at a price per transaction of $56.67. IBM Corp.’s RISC System 6000 Enterprise Server S80 holds the TPC-C speed record for a non-clustered system with a 126,671.10 result. The IBM result, submitted last month, cost $58.12 per transaction.

Unisys achieved its latest TPC-C score on a Unisys Aquanta ES5085R outfitted with eight 550-MHz Pentium III Xeon processors. The system slid in at a cost of $18.42 per TpmC, shaving $1.43 off the cost of Unisys’ earlier mark. Both Unisys tests used the 550-MHz Pentium III Xeons, meaning Unisys engineered the speed increase elsewhere in the system.

Compaq briefly held the top spot in September with results of 40,266.4 TpmC -- $18.70 per TpmC -- on its ProLiant 8000 and 40,368.75 -- $18.46 per TpmC -- on the ProLiant 8500.

IBM Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., and Dell Computer Corp. have yet to publish Profusion-based TPC-C results. Hitachi Data Systems, which pushed a Profusion-based system to the market about nine months ahead of anybody else, also has yet to release a benchmark result.

Industry analysts predict that hardware OEMs will produce a round of benchmarks showing significant performance jumps on the Profusion systems when they begin running the tests on Windows 2000, and again when they use Windows 2000 Datacenter Server.