Why Read This
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.