HP looks beyond Superdome ‘sabotage’

Have I got benchmarks for you

DVD it in many colours

In January, HP launched Superdome, the newest fastest
member of the high-end 9000 Unix server family. Unfortunately it ran like a dog (think dachshund)in TPC-C benchmarks, the industry standard measurement of server performance.

HP engineers scratched their heads, and set out to discover the problem. One million dollars, and lots of allegedly lost sales later, the company had its answer: sabotage. By a now ex-employee.

It is sueing said former worker. It's also publishing a TPC-C benchmark for Superdome that it feels happy with for the first time.

So here is the new TPC-C benchmark: 389,434 transactions per minute (tpmC), equivalent to a price/performance of $21.24 per transaction.

This was recorded on a 64-way PA-8700 Superdome running Oracle9i, the fastest Oracle-based TPC-C result to date. This is 76 per ent faster and provides a 37 per cent better price/performance ratio than IBM's highest published Unix box TPC-C benchmark, HP helpfully notes. And somewhat ungallantly it points out that Sun is "not currently present in high-end TPC-C benchmarks". In the technical computing market, HP ranks second, behind IBM, in terms of entries in the Top 500 list, as this triumphal press release crows.

HP's latest Superdome benchmark is 98 per cent better than the first result of 197,024 tpmC in early 2001 and the price/performance ratio is improved to the tune of 50 per cent.

According to the company the "98 per cent improvement almost doubles the commitment to performance increase that HP made to its customers during the launch of Superdome in 2000". Yes, but... how much is real performance increase, and how much is down to running the benchmarks through a machine that actually works?

HP yesterday cut Superdome list prices by up to 30 per cent. ®

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