IBM, Intel, Microsoft Eclipse Sun and Oracle

IBM, Intel and Microsoft, using the performance measurement technique agreed to by all computer makers, achieved record-breaking results in both cost per transaction and server performance. The total solution will be available in the beginning of December 2000. Breaking Compaq Proliant's previous TPC-C (Transaction Processing Performance Council, type C benchmark) record, this server cluster recorded performance levels that triple the performance of Oracle running on Sun Microsystems, at one-third the price.

Sun's Enterprise 6500 cluster achieved 135,461 transactions at a price performance of $97.10 tpmC. The IBM, Intel, Microsoft cluster achieved an audited record TPC-C of 440,879.95 transactions per minute at a price performance of $32.28 per tpmC, achieving performance levels nearly twice that of similar benchmarks performed previously on Intel-based hardware.

"This benchmark constitutes a solution that will entirely bypass the normal glitches and costs of second implementations that accompany exponential transaction growth rates," says Marshall Freiman, CTO, Web Emporium LLC, an IBM customer. "It also offers scalability for e-businesses affected heavily by the transaction spikes associated with the holiday seasons. This is the type of cooperation between industry leaders that we should expect. With IBM, Intel and Microsoft making a move like this, others are bound to follow."

IBM, Intel and Microsoft joined forces on this effort to prove that a combination of Netfinity Servers with Pentium III Xeon processors running at 700 MHz with 2 MB L2 cache, IBM DB2 Universal Database and Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server operating system provides a highly scalable environment. This technology combination is ideally suited for data-intensive applications like business-to-business (B2B), e-commerce and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).

The configuration included 116 terabytes of physical disk space configured for high availability using RAID 1 and RAID 5 arrays. The Netfinity 8500R servers, containing Netfinity X-Architecture features adopted from IBM S/390 and RS/6000 servers, contributed to this benchmark's success. Specific features that convinced the benchmark team the servers were up to the test include the 8500R's expansive memory, number of processors supported, number of PCI slots available for add-on components and amount of LAN I/O for the transfer of data in and out of the system. In addition, the setup utilizes Giganet cLAN interconnects for fast server-to-server communications.

Key components of the cluster included:

  • 32 IBM Netfinity 8500R servers running Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server and IBM DB2 Universal Database Enterprise-Extended Edition V7.1
  • Four 700MHz/2MB L2 cache Intel Pentium(R) III Xeon processors per server
  • 4GB ECC SDRAM memory per server
  • Eight IBM Netfinity ServeRAID-3HB Ultra2 SCSI Adapters per server 96 IBM Netfinity 5000 servers were used as TPC-C clients for the Web-serving, Microsoft Windows 2000 Server on each client.
  • Two 9.1GB 10K Ultra 160 SCSI drives and 218 18.2GB 10K Wide Ultra SCSI drives per server
  • One EtherJet 10/100 PCI Management Adapter per server 2 Giganet cLAN 5300 switches
  • DB2 Universal Database

DB2 Universal Database's ability to scale to 1000 nodes, using a single database spread across the cluster offered significant advantages in scaling and management over other data management solutions that follow a federated architecture, i.e., one database instance per machine, with each having to be individually managed. Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server was configured to run on each member of the cluster of the Netfinity servers. With this latest benchmark, the Windows 2000 platform now holds the top three-world record benchmarks for the TPC-C Benchmark 'C' and provides further evidence of the performance and economic advantages of the "scale-out" approach to architecting enterprise solutions.

The new large cache 700MHz version of the Pentium III Xeon processor has 140 million transistors and is based on Intel's 0.18-micron process technology, offering 1MB and 2 MB of Advanced Transfer Cache memory with Advanced System Buffering. The processor also offers a 100 MHz system bus and on-cartridge voltage management for increased system reliability. The new processors also are built on the same form factor, enabling server manufacturers to use them with existing server platform components, accelerating time to market.