HP Uses Intel Itanium 2 Processor for Best-Ever Benchmark Results

In a seemingly endless series of leapfrogging announcements, HP reveals record-breaking server performance over IBM

Through the spring and early summer of 2003, Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) and IBM Corp. repeatedly leapfrogged one another in a key industry benchmark.

Last week, HP tapped the power of the Itanium 2 processor from Intel Corp. to put considerable space between itself and IBM in the Transaction Processing Performance Council’s (TPC) TPC-C benchmark.

An HP Integrity Superdome server populated with 64 1.5 GHz Itanium 2 chips and running HP-UX 11i v.2 in tandem with Oracle 10g Enterprise Edition notched a throughput result of 1,008,144 transactions per minute (tpmC)—almost 200,000 tpmC greater than the next best result, also recorded by an HP Integrity Superdome system. As a matter of fact, HP now owns the top three spots on the TPC-C performance results list.

Over the last seven months, HP and IBM have gone back and forth for control of the top spot in the TPC-C benchmark.

When HP and Microsoft notched record TPC-C results in late April, for example, IBM struck back in early May, riding one of its 32-way pSeries p690 “Regatta” system to the top of the TPC-C charts. Weeks later (in late May), HP and Microsoft again displaced IBM from its perch, this time on the strength of another 64-way Itanium 2-powered SuperDome system running Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition. IBM’s pSeries proved to have a lot of gas left in its tank, however. In early July, Big Blue again tapped a 32-way p690, running AIX and DB2, to recover first place.

HP took the lead for good in late July, when one of its Integrity Superdome systems, also running HP-UX 11i v.2 and Oracle 10g, recorded 824,164 tpmC on the benchmark. Since then, IBM has recorded one additional benchmark result for pSeries, this time riding Oracle 10g to a score of 768,839 tpmC.

HP’s two best TPC-C scores have also been recorded using Oracle 10g—but on 64-way systems. IBM, on the other hand, continues to offer its Power4+-based pSeries 690 as a 32-way system. The upshot, then, is that until recently, the performance of IBM’s flagship 32-way system was within striking distance (i.e., within 2.3 percent and 6.8 percent) of the performance of HP’s top 64-way Itanium 2 servers in the TPC-C benchmark. With its latest benchmark, HP has widened the gap substantially—by almost 24 percent.

About the Author

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