The price/performance and performance of entry servers may not be a big deal to the hundreds of thousands of mid-sized and enterprise customers in the world, but it is a pretty big deal to small businesses that use such machines as their main servers. This low-end sector of the server market is growing faster than the server market at large, and competing well in this area means getting good shipment numbers as a shot at customers who may grow into larger organizations years from now.
To help it in its marketing efforts to the S companies in the SMB space, Hewlett Packard Co yesterday announced that it has broken through the $2 per transaction per minute (TPM) floor on the TPC-C online transaction processing benchmark test with a ProLiant ML350 server. HP tested an ML350 with a single 3.06GHz Xeon processor with 512KB of L2 cache (the machine can house two such processors), 2.5GB of main memory, and 694GB of disk capacity. The server was equipped with Microsoft Corp’s Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition and SQL Server 2000 Standard Edition with ServicePack 3 loaded. This relatively lean machine could support 14,000 concurrent users on the TPC-C test and yielded a throughput of 17,192 TPM. Including three years of maintenance and a tc2120 server that acted as an application server, the whole shebang cost $36,391, but after a 14% system discount and some other small goodies, HP shaved 10% off the cost of the entire configuration, yielding a final price of $32,772 or $1.91 per TPM.
This is the first time any server vendor has broken through the $2 per TPM barrier, although IBM Corp and Dell Inc were pretty close already. Dell recently tested a PowerEdge 2650, which is a two-way capable rack-mounted server, with only one 3.06GHz Xeon as well and using 2.5GB of main memory and 1.1GB of disk storage and running the same Microsoft software. The Dell machine bested HP’s ML350 in terms of performance, with a rating of 20,108 TPM, but the Dell configuration cost $47,586 before a 9.3% discount, which gave it a bang for the buck of $2.12 per TPM. IBM’s two-way capable xSeries 235 was recently tested using a 3.2GHz Xeon processor, 12GB of main memory, and 1.5TB of disk running the Enterprise Editions of the Microsoft Windows and SQL Server programs. That machine cost $68,477 after a 15.5% discount, but it could crank through 31,910 TPM for a cost of $2.15 per TPM. Clearly, adding main memory really boosts performance, but on entry machines, it is also very costly compared to other components so it doesn’t do as much for price/performance as you might guess.
This article is based on material originally produced by ComputerWire.