News in Brief

RISC-Unix beats Windows Server 2003; Net Express update; Itanium 2 flaw

RISC-Unix Beats Windows Server 2003 in Industry Benchmark

Early this month, IBM published a result of 680,613 transactions per minute (tpmC) on the Transaction Processing Performance Council's TPC-C benchmark. According to the TPC, Big Blue’s result was a record for a non-clustered system.

Big Blue achieved this result with a 32-processor IBM eServer pSeries 690 Turbo 7040-681 system running its newest Power4+ processors, version 5.2 of AIX 5L, and DB2 8.1.

The IBM system surpassed the results of a much larger 64-way system trumpeted last month by Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP).

The $6.5 million configuration, touted by both partners during the Windows Server 2003 launch as a validation of the new operating environment’s ability to scale, notched 658,277 tpmC on a 64-way HP SuperDome system populated with Itanium 2 chips and running 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition and SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition.

In all, the IBM system beat the HP-Microsoft raw performance by 3 percent at a cost that amounted to 14 percent more per transaction ($11.13/tpmC for IBM compared with $9.80/tpmC for HP).

Big Blue’s record TPC-C result easily blew away another top Windows Server 2003 benchmark, achieved with a 32-way NEC system. In that case, the IBM result demonstrated much better performance—32 percent—in addition to superior value, at a price 3 percent less expensive per transaction.

Micro Focus Enhances COBOL Integration Platform

Micro Focus International Ltd. announced enhancements to its Net Express development and deployment environment that are said to deliver lower TCO for legacy enterprise applications.

Version 4.0 of Net Express lets IT organizations extend their COBOL applications to Windows and Unix environments. The new enhancements to the Net Express 4.0 include direct COBOL Web services, J2EE connectivity, and XML support, which organizations can exploit to re-use and integrate COBOL assets within strategic architectures.

Micro Focus also introduced a new deployment option for Net Express, called Enterprise Server. Enterprise Sever features support for Web services, along with a COBOL resource adapter for J2EE connections, which enables COBOL to integrate with popular deployment technologies.

See for more information.

Flaw Appears in Itanium 2 by Scott Bekker(Courtesy of

Intel acknowledged a flaw in its Itanium 2 processors that have been shipping since July. The problem could cause systems to crash.

An Intel spokesperson said the flaw, which occurs only under a very specific set of circumstances, was found by a computer manufacturer earlier this year in a lab setting. No known cases of the flaw affecting a customer environment had been reported, according to Intel.

The small universe of Itanium 2 users who find that the circumstances triggering the flaw apply to their environments can run a software fix from Intel. The fix slows the chip's speed by about 100 MHz from the shipping clockspeeds of 900 MHz and 1 GHz.

Due to the flaw, IBM reportedly stopped shipment of its new IBM eServer xSeries 450, which uses the Itanium 2 processors.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.