Feeds

HP test pilots fly secret four-socket Xeon E5 blade in public

Top of the SPECs – for now

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Hewlett-Packard has yet to announce a blade server based on Intel's latest Xeon E5-4600 processors for four-socket servers - but that hasn't stopped it bragging about their performance.

In an article on its website, HP let the cat out of the bag that it was working on the ProLiant BL660c Gen8 blade server, which is a full-height, single-width blade server for the BladeSystem c7000 chassis that is the foundation of many of its systems.

The feeds and speeds of the ProLiant BL660c Gen8 server were not divulged by HP top brass. Instead the company's techies have run the SPEC CPU2006 series of integer and floating point benchmark tests on the forthcoming box. They compared it to current Xeon E5-4600 machines from Huawei, Bull, Dell, and Super Micro to show off the performance advantage its future four-socketer will deliver when it starts shipping sometime in the second half of this year. You can view the performance report [PDF]. HP put together for all the numbers, but there is very little detail on the BL660c Gen8 server itself.

SPECint_rate2006 performance for four-socketers

SPECint_rate2006 performance for four-socketers. Note: Super Micro has run a test, which you can see here, that pegs the SuperServer at a SPECint_rate2006 of 1220, not 1190 as the chart above shows. HP made a mistake in this chart.

While HP has met or beat the performance of these rivals in the four-socket racket, what this chart above and the report in general really demonstrate is how difficult it is to differentiate on performance in a world dominated by Intel Xeon processors. The difference from one machine to another is a few percent, and because of the cut-throat economics, the street prices of machines are probably not all that different unless you are in a competitive takeout situation.

Perhaps the most telling bit of information in the performance report put together by HP is that a four-socket machine using eight-core Sandy Bridge-EP Xeon E5-4600 processors running at 2.7GHz offers about 17 to 19.5 per cent better performance than a four-socket box based on the earlier ten-core Westmere-EX Xeon E7-4800 processors running at 2.4GHz when it comes to floating point work.

So if you need a fat memory node, clearly the Xeon E5-4600 node is going to be the better – and almost certainly cheaper – option. If you need an eight-socket server or more than 1.5TB of memory, then an E7-8800 machine is your only option unless you want to go the RISC/Unix or proprietary server route.

HP BL660c versus older E7-4800 iron for floating point

HP BL660c versus older E7-4800 iron for floating point

On integer work, the gap is much smaller:

HP BL660c versus older E7-4800 iron for integer

HP BL660c versus older E7-4800 iron for integer work

You will note that HP was very careful not to compare its future E5-4600 blade server against its own current ProLiant G7 machines using the E7-4800 processors.

And the company did not mention the ProLiant DL580 Gen8 rack-mounted server, which has not been announced yet, either, and which is no doubt on its way, too, supporting the Xeon E5-4600 processor. If you scan the SPEC CPU2006 benchmarks, the only Gen8 machines that have been tested other than the BL660c blade server are two-socket rack and blade boxes based on the Xeon E5-2600s. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Ellison: Sparc M7 is Oracle's most important silicon EVER
'Acceleration engines' key to performance, security, Larry says
Linux? Bah! Red Hat has its eye on the CLOUD – and it wants to own it
CEO says it will be 'undisputed leader' in enterprise cloud tech
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
Hey, what's a STORAGE company doing working on Internet-of-Cars?
Boo - it's not a terabyte car, it's just predictive maintenance and that
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.