Giga Impressed with Linearity of IBM x440 Scaling

The IT analyst house Giga Information Group is impressed with the way IBM's new Intel-based servers scale from four processors to eight processors.

A report written by Giga analyst Brad Day and published last week tracks IBM's progress on the closely monitored Transaction Processing Performance Council's TPC-C benchmark for OLTP databases.

The server is the IBM eServer xSeries 440. Based on IBM's Enterprise X-Architecture, the servers are built in four-processor blocks that can be hooked together via a proprietary interconnect that IBM calls a "Scalability Port." Currently, IBM offers systems of up to eight processors. Eventually the x440 is supposed to scale to 16-processor SMP via the Scalability Port.

In March, IBM ran a benchmark of its IBM eServer xSeries 440 server with four Intel Xeon MPs running Windows 2000 Datacenter Server and Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition for a result of 55,139 transactions per minute on the TPC-C (tpmC). In July, IBM tested an xSeries 440 with eight Xeon MPs, Windows .NET Datacenter Server and SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition for a result of 92,398 tpmC.

"IBM has maintained an impressive level of application linearity, showing approximately 67 percent performance improvement going from four-way to eight-way symmetric multiprocessing across the same generation of server class," Giga's Day remarked.

According to Day, "IBM now owns performance scalability bragging rights (vs. Dell and HP) when comparing the online transaction processing results of its four-way Xeon MP servers versus its eight-way."

IBM's next challenge, Day noted, will be to extend the linearity of its xSeries 440 performance curve from eight-way to 16-processor models. IBM originally planned to deliver 16-processor systems in July. IBM now apparently plans to release the larger SMP systems in the fourth quarter.

About the Author

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