Getting a new server architecture into the market is a tough thing, but proving that it was worth the trouble is often just as tough. That is why Sun Microsystems Inc has been a little benchmark crazy when it comes to the new Sun Fire V20z and V40z Opteron servers.
On a two-tier SAP S&D benchmark test, the V40z running SuSE Linux 8 and Oracle 9i was able to handle 820 SD users, while a V20z tested earlier this year could handle 456 users. Both machines were using the 2.4GHz versions of the Opterons (the 250 in the two-way and the 850 in the four-way).
These results were significantly ahead of similar Opteron iron and quite a bit ahead of Xeon and Itanium servers with the same processor counts.
Sun is also shouting about the fact that a network of two V20z Web application servers and a V40z database server set a new record for price/performance on the SPECjAppServer2002 Web application server test. That network was able to support 1,364 operations per second at a cost of $83 per OPS. A mix of seven Sun Fire V65X Xeon-based servers and a Sun Fire 6800 Solaris server were tested a year ago and could handle twice as much work running Solaris, but the network cost $701 per OPS.
It is now clear why Sun is moving toward Opteron and away from Sparc for its entry and midrange boxes. Few customers will pay that premium, unless their applications are tightly woven into the Sparc architecture. Many customers would rather jump platforms, and probably threatened to do just that.
What Sun has not done yet is publish TPC-C online transaction processing performance tests on the V20z and V40z, which seems a bit mystifying in that they offer price/performance that rivals IBM Corp’s Power5 servers and Hewlett-Packard Co’s rx Series of Itanium 2 boxes. Sun, what exactly are you afraid of? Success? Time’s a-wasting.