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x86 Servers Hit The High Notes

x86 Servers Are A Viable Landing Place For Selected RISC/Unix Workloads

December 22, 2010

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Why Read This Report

While x86 servers have been an alternative for low-end Unix workloads in recent years, two key factors, scalability and reliability, kept them from being considered for the largest critical enterprise workloads. These workloads, usually large application images such as enterprise resource planning, financial packages, and other critical systems, were considered too critical and too resource-intensive for migration to x86 systems. Compounding the unease among application and infrastructure and operations (I&O) management were limitations of the candidate environments for migration, notably Linux and Microsoft's server OS. Advances in OS maturity and the latest generation of x86 servers based on Intel's Xeon 7500 CPU have moved the combination of x86 servers firmly into the realm of being a viable platform for offloading RISC/Unix workloads from. However, while performance of these x86 platforms is at a level approximately equal to RISC systems three or four years ago, and overall reliability has improved, RISC/Unix servers still have a performance advantage for the largest workloads.

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Tools And Templates

Best Practice Assessments

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  • The SAP Benchmark Reveals Similar Performance Across Several Server Vendors
  • The SAP Benchmark Shows A Consistent Multi-Year Gap In Performance
  • The SPECint Rate Benchmark Shows Ratios Similar To The SAP Benchmark

Table of Contents

  • High-End RISC/Unix Servers Are I&O Teams' Preferred Core Transaction Engines
  • Three Trends Highlight The Progress Of X86 As A Viable RISC Alternative
  • The Sap Benchmark Reveals A Multi-Year Gap Between X86 And RISC
  • Weigh Four Key Considerations When Considering A Migration

  • X86 Is Real And Ready For Large Enterprise Workloads
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