Unisys Nudges ES7000/Datacenter Higher on TPC-C Benchmark

Unisys Corp. posted another industry-standard benchmark this week in its patient campaign to prove its CMP server loaded with 32 Intel Xeons and Windows can scale to handle the largest loads.

Unisys achieved a sixth-place result on the closely watched Transaction Processing Performance Council's OLTP benchmark, the TPC-C, in the category of raw performance for a non-clustered system.

The $3.5 million configuration, which won't be available until March 10, with a 32-processor Unisys ES7000 database server as the anchor logged 165,000 transactions per minute on the benchmark (tpmC).

Unisys ES7000
The result is a 17 percent performance improvement over Unisys' first TPC-C benchmark run of its ES7000 server from two months ago.

Pete Samson, vice president and general manager of Unisys technology sales development, attributes the self-improvement to better tuning of the software, faster disk drives and more I/O. Unisys ran the test using SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition and Windows Datacenter Server Limited Edition, an SMP-tuned version of Microsoft's highest end server operating system based on fully supported beta code from Windows .NET Datacenter Server.

The TPC-C benchmark was the playground where Microsoft ran up the scalability numbers with Windows 2000 by using dozens of servers in performance clusters -- what Microsoft called its scale-out approach.

Microsoft and partners IBM and Compaq flooded the TPC-C benchmark with so many high numbers that the benchmarking organization created separate clustered and non-clustered results lists. The companies have not brought forward many customers using the clustered approach, but they continue to publish clustered benchmarks occasionally.

Bob O'Brien, group product manager in the Windows .NET Server Solution Group, says the Windows .NET server family will be about scale-up -- the approach of using a single large system with a lot of headroom. The Windows .NET servers go into Beta 3 testing this month.

"The most important thing about [the Unisys] scale-up number is the price performance. If you were to sort that top 10 list by price performance, the Unisys/Microsoft result would be No. 1. The No. 2 position would be held by us and Unisys on the former benchmark from September," O'Brien says.

The Unisys/Microsoft cost per transaction of $21.33 is about two-thirds to half the cost of most of the systems above it on the list.

On raw performance, however, Microsoft and Unisys need about a 40 percent performance boost to catch up with the main pack on the Top 10 list and would have to nearly triple their result to reach the leader, a $12 million configuration from Fujitsu.

Although the duo appears maxed out, using the maximum 64 GB RAM in the system and the top available Intel Pentium III Xeon 900 MHz for all 32 server processors, don't count them out.

Unisys similarly pushed the ES7000/Datacenter combo slowly up in performance on SAP's benchmark until it had the best number.

"We're not done," Unisys' Samson vows.

About the Author

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