All Parties Advance in TPC-C Benchmarks

Editor's Note: This story is updated from the print version. A new Compaq/Microsoft benchmark was released after the issue went to the printer. See below for links to a related story.

Sun Microsystems Inc. recently broadened the lead that Unix-RISC systems enjoy overWindows 2000-Intel processor systems in the portion of the TransactionProcessing Performance Council (TPC) OLTP benchmark that analysts say countsmost.

With a64-processor Sun Starfire Enterprise 10000 running Sun Solaris 7 and SybaseAdaptive Server Enterprise, Sun ( posted a benchmark of 156,873 transactionsper minute on the council’s ( TPC-C benchmark.

The figureranks sixth among the top 10 TPC-C results by performance behind five scoresengineered by Microsoft Corp. ( using Windows 2000 Advanced Server. Analystsfrom GartnerGroup Inc. ( and other market research firms generallytake a dim view of benchmarking, and have criticized Microsoft’s efforts asbeing too convoluted for real-world database administrators (DBAs) toimplement.

The topresult of 505,303 tpmC uses 24 Compaq ProLiant eight-ways running SQL Server 2000 onWindows 2000 Advanced Server. Rounding out the top five are a 32-node cluster of four-processor IBM Netfinity servers running DB2 on Advanced Server and another three results usingAdvanced Server/SQL Server on between eight and 12 CompaqProLiant servers.

Sun’sresult uses one server, making it a system DBAs should be able to configure andmanage. The system, including all clients and storage required to run the test,weighs in at $7.6 million or $48.81 per tpmC. It will be available in early2001.

CompaqComputer Corp. ( and Oracle Corp. ( teamed up last month to run another singledatabase system up the results lists. The pair goosed a 32-processor CompaqAlphaServer GS320 running Tru64 Unix up to 144,331 tpmC with Oracle 8.1.7Enterprise Edition. That system cost $8.2 million, including about $1.3 millionfor 128 GB of RAM, for an overall price per transaction of $57.25.

DellComputer Corp. ( is the latest to put together a singledatabase-system result using Windows 2000 Datacenter Server, Microsoft’s answerto the Unix/RISC competition. The old Microsoft story is reprised there: Thepure performance is comparatively lower than Unix/RISC, but the cost issubstantially better.

Dell’seight-processor PowerEdge 8450 running SQL Server 2000 achieved 57,014.93 tpmC,slightly better than one-third the performance of the Sun system. The totalsystem cost of $854,106.40, however, gives the Dell-Microsoft combination animpressively low $14.99 tpmC.

Dellstacked its system with 32 GB of RAM, pushing Datacenter Server halfway to itslimit of supporting 64 GB of RAM. Dell did not break out the cost of the memoryin its summary report to the TPC.

Two factorsmean the benchmarketing battles should continue to run hot for the remainder ofthe year.

For one,the capacity of Windows 2000 Datacenter Server isn’t close to being tapped yet.Unisys Corp. ( has yet to enter TPC-C results with itsnew ES7000 machine, which can run Windows 2000 Datacenter Server across 32processors. That theoretical quadrupling of headroom puts Windows 2000 DatacenterServer in striking distance of the best Unix/RISC numbers.

At the sametime, Sun is rumored to be close to releasing its long overdue next generationof faster processors, which should give the Solaris camp a significant speedjump.

Related story:

Compaq, Microsoft Set Record TPC-C Benchmark