Unisys Announces 8-Way Results

As rumors fly that Intel Profusion will be late, Unisys Corp. ( today reported that its implementation of a pre-release version of the 8-way chipset boosted performance of a customer application 2.5 times over a 4-way system.

"The application happened to have data that resides in memory so there was no I/O requirement," said Sam Samman, director of software product management for Unisys’ Aquanta Enterprise Server Business. "I wouldn’t call it a rule of thumb," Samman said of the substantial performance gain.

More typical performance boosts with the Profusion architecture over 4-way systems should be more modest, Samman suggested. "We’re predicting anywhere from 40 percent and 90 percent depending on the application," he said. Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) applications are on the low end of that performance gain spectrum and decision support types of jobs on the high end, Samman said.

Unisys achieved its 2.5X boost on a Unisys Aquanta ES5085 equipped with eight 500-MHz Intel Pentium III Xeon processors. Notably, the system Unisys compared the results to, a 4-way Aquanta QS/2 server, was running slower 400-MHz Pentium II Xeon chips.

Intel rules prohibit its systems partners such as Unisys from releasing actual benchmark numbers right now.

But Intel applauded the results. In a statement released with the Unisys announcement, Intel Enterprise Server Group vice president and general manager John Miner credited Unisys’ mainframe-heritage skills in partitioning, advanced systems management and intelligent I/O processing for getting the most out of Profusion.

The Unisys tests were conducted for Amadeus, a reservation system for several European airlines. The application finds the lowest fare for a given flight based on information from the Amadeus fare-quote database, which runs on a Unisys ClearPath server.

Samman said Unisys had not performed the tests on uniprocessor or dual-processor machines, so the linear progression made possible by the 8-way architecture was not clear.

Meanwhile, Intel is rumored to be slipping on its earlier stated deadline of June 30 for getting the final version of Profusion to server systems manufacturers.

Samman acknowledged that the apparent slippage is the reason Unisys is now saying availability of its systems based on Profusion will be in the third quarter. "We are hopeful that it will be available early in the third quarter," he said. -- Scott Bekker

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.