Compaq, Microsoft Set Record TPC-C Benchmark

Windows2000 has again set a raw performance record on the closely watched TPC-Cbenchmark. A 24-node cluster of Compaqservers running Windows 2000 Advanced Server and SQL Server 2000 EnterpriseEdition this month processed more than half a million transactions in a minuteon the benchmark.

Compaqdesigned, assembled, and tweaked the server configuration with an eye tosetting a new record for the benchmark, which is designed and maintained by theTransaction Processing Performance Council.

The serverconfiguration consists of 24 Compaq ProLiant 8500 machines, each sporting eightIntel Pentium III Xeons clocked at 700 MHz. The configuration completed505,302.77 transaction in a minute. By contrast, a 12-node configuration usingidentical machines completed slightly more than half the transactions in aminute, 262,243.

The TPC-Cbenchmark measures database configuration performance by simulatingtransactions typically used in business. Each transaction theoreticallyreflects a user request on an e-business site.

“There’salways a little bit of overhead with scaling out,” says Steve Cumings, manager,product strategy and business planning, at Compaq. When more machines areclustered together, CPU utilization increases because of the added work ofcommunication between machines.

“The goodnews is that there is excellent scalability,” Cumings says. Althoughperformance does not quite double when the machines are doubled, theperformance increase is still great enough to justify scaling up to 24machines. Cumings says Compaq is pleased that the price/performance figurestill hovers around $20. The 12-node cluster costs $20.24 per tpmC. The 24-nodecluster costs $20.64 per tpmC.

The Compaq-Microsoft configuration edges out a 32-nodeWindows 2000 Advanced Server benchmark performed by IBM that ran to 440,879transactions per minute using IBM's DB2 database software. Because the IBMresult used four-processor machines, Compaq’s configuration has a higher numberof total processors --192 vs. 128. All of the top five results on the TPC-Cperformance charts run Windows 2000 Advanced Server in clusteredconfigurations.

Cumingssays that although no users have deployed a similar configuration in a productionenvironment -- users are waiting on SQL Server 2000 and Compaq’s implementationof Virtual Interface -- dot-com customers are likely to be early adopters of asimilar configuration. Since dot-coms often need to scale quickly and cheaply,they could begin with a 12-node configuration, then ramp up to a 24-nodeconfiguration with minimal hits to performance or the ledger.

Compaqdominates the top 10 in TPC-C performance, holding six of the top slots.Previous champ IBM holds the No. 2 spot, as well as two lower rankings. SunMicrosystems, the lone Unix vendor, comes in at No. 8.

Somevendors such as Sun have criticized similar TPC-C benchmarks using n-nodeclusters. They contend that they are not measures of scalability and havelittle relation to server configurations that are deployed in productionenvironments.

Thebenchmark is a demonstration of Microsoft’s scale-out strategy for high-enddatabases. The flagship machine for the scale-up strategy, Unisys’ 32-processor ES/7000, which Compaqresells as its ML770, has yet to be listed on the TPC’s benchmark site. Cumingsexpects to see numbers for that machine appear soon. “It would be fairly normalfor us to benchmark that machine,” he says.

Index:

CompaqComputer Corp, Houston, TX, www.compaq.com

SunMicrosystems Inc. Palo Alto, CA, www.sun.com

TransactionProcessing Performance Council, San Jose, CA www.tpc.org

MicrosoftCorp. Redmond WA. www.microsoft.com