With the exception of Sun (who have delayed their announcement) all the major x86 server vendors launched a slew of new rack servers based on the Xeon 5500 processor announced yesterday (see here). Before I start, there’s two points to get out of the way:
- I’m not going to go into great detail about each new configuration, there’s plenty of coverage elsewhere, not to mention the vendor’s respective websites for details of feeds and speeds.
- I’ll cover blade announcements in separate blog.
Instead I’ll focus on the highlights and compare some of these machines with the models with existing systems. First, let’s look at what Dell announced, the PowerEdge r710 which compares most directly to the existing AMD-based PowerEdge r805. The key differences are are shown in the following table:
|PE r805||PE r710||Comments|
|Memory||128 GB DDR2||144 GB DDR3||12.5% capacity + bandwidth improvements|
|PCIe slots||3 x8 slots (Gen 1) |
1 x4 slot (Gen 1)
|2 x8 slots (Gen 2) |
2 x4 slots (Gen 2)
|Same number of slots, but available I/O bandwidth is ~60% greater|
The performance difference on the VMmark benchmarks speaks for itself with r710 (23.55 @ 16 tiles) roughly doubling the performance of the r805 (11.23 @ 8 tiles).
HP went much further than Dell, introducing replacements for their Proliant G5 systems across the board (including DL360, DL370, and DL380). The G6 variants offer roughly double the memory and massive improvements in I/O bandwidth vs. systems they replace. For example here’s a quick comparison of the DL360 G5 and G6 models.
|DL 380 G5||DL 380 G6||Comments|
|Memory||64 GB DDR2||144 GB DDR3||225% capacity + bandwidth improvements|
|PCIe slots||2 x8 slots (Gen 1) |
2 x4 slot (Gen 1)
|2 x8 slots (Gen 2) |
4 x4 slots (Gen 2)
|50% more slots, but available I/O bandwidth is ~300% greater|
To put the performance difference in perspective, HP has published a TPC/C result on the DL360 G6 which is roughly 50% higher than any previous 2-socket TPC/C number (631,766 tpm vs. 404,462 tpm). In fact the DL 360 G6 result is only marginally slower on TPC/C than the DL 580 G5 4-socket which achieved 639,253 tpm as recently as January of 2009.
The key point for anybody considering dual-socket server purchases in Q2 or later is that they should wait for availability of the new Xeon 5500 products which offer considerably better “bang for the buck” in terms of both performance and energy efficiency. The only caveats relate to the use of these servers in virtualization clusters:
- Don’t mix AMD-based and Intel-based servers in the same cluster because although the server virtualization extensions are similar, they are mutually incompatible when it comes to live migration of virtual machines from one server to another.
- Try not to mix old and new Xeon-based servers in the same cluster because it will negate some of the virtualization extensions in Xeon 5500 that are not supported on older Xeon processors.
Posted by: Nik Simpson