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IBM Uses System p 550 Benchmark Results to Appeal to New Customers

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IBM has announced performance results on the System p 550 Express along with a program that offers customers trade-in credits for replacing competitive machines from HP, Sun, and other UNIX vendors.

IBM is specifically reaching out to users of HP's PA-RISC systems. HP has outlined a migration path from PA-RISC to HP Integrity Systems, but not all customers have chosen to adopt the outlined direction. IBM estimates there are more than 170,000 PA-RISC systems still in use.

The 4.2GHz POWER6 processor-based System p 550 Express achieved 629,159 tpmC on an eight-core p 550 in a recent TPC-C (measuring the ability of a server to process complex online database transactions) benchmark. The IBM entry-level server was running a single instance of the IBM DB2 Enterprise 9.5 database software on the AIX 5.3 operating system and using IBM System Storage DS3400 Express.

The 629K transactions per minute TPC-C result from a small, energy efficient eight-core IBM p 550 offers 16 percent greater database transaction performance than the HP machine, IBM said. An eight-core p 550 uses only nine percent as much energy as a 64-core HP 9000 Superdome PA-RISC 8700. The p 550 also has a significantly smaller footprint. The space savings is calculated based on a 64-core HP 9000 Superdome filling two cabinets resulting in a total of 128.9 cubic feet consumed, while the faster IBM p 550 is a 4U server utilizing just two cubic feet or 1/10 of one standard 42U rack. Using 56 fewer cores, customers also can save up to 87 percent of the cost of software that has a licensing fee on a per core basis when migrating from the 64-core HP 9000 Superdome solution to the eight-core System p 550 Express.

The new benchmark is also 1.6 times the performance of HP's Integrity rx6600 using Itanium 2, according to IBM.

The p 550 Express has a maximum of eight cores with either a 3.5 or 4.2 GHz POWER6 processor and up to 256 GB of memory. The System p 550 is ideally suited as a mid-sized database server, or as an application server for ERP and CRM applications, or for both when a single physical server is configured as multiple virtual servers. The 256 GB of memory in a 4U form factor offers outstanding capacity for mid-size databases, says IBM, or for UNIX or x86 server consolidations supporting dozens or hundreds of server images, helping to simplify and optimize customer IT infrastructures and reduce server sprawl.

IBM said the company leads its competitors in more than 70 key computing performance benchmarks. It is a leading provider of UNIX solutions worldwide and has been in first place for 10 quarters in a row, according to the company.

IBM last month introduced a program designed to help customers facing the prospect after December 31 of being unable to purchase additional PA-RISC systems and at the same time facing delays in Sun's ROCK processor by pressenting them with available IBM UNIX solutions.

"It is a strong indicator to us that HP customers still buying PA-RISC have for years now resisted HP's plea to recompile their applications and migrate to the newer HP Integrity architecture. The PA-RISC technology they are still buying is no longer competitive as evidenced by today's compelling benchmark and the seemingly irresistible economic value proposition of switching to IBM Power," said Scott Handy, vice president of worldwide marketing and strategy, IBM Power Systems.

"But by year-end, they may have to deal with the withdrawal of PA-RISC, and those customers need to mitigate the risk of moving the UNIX workloads to another platform. IBM migration specialists have successfully migrated more than 1,000 customers to IBM's UNIX platform over the last two years," he said.

IBM is interested in helping HP PA-RISC customers who do not see Itanium as a viable alternative for them to move to the industry's leading UNIX platform based on IBM Power processors, the company said.

IBM sales reps can offer assessments at no cost to PA-RISC customers with no obligation to buy, and customers can use the rebates from trade-ins toward the migration services, IBM said.

The trade-in program includes a rebate offer of up to $7,200 per server (up from $4,800) for 3.5 GHz models ($900 per core) and up to $9,600 per server for 4.2 GHz models ($1,200 per core) good throughout 2008 for certain HP and Sun and other UNIX server replacements in the US currently available. The amount of the trade-in credit for each replaced machine depends upon the configuration of the replacement machine and represents a combination of the fair market value of the replaced machine and an additional incentive. IBM then recycles the old competitive systems to minimize environmental impact.

About IBM

For more information about IBM, please visit www.ibm.com. For more information on IBM System p servers and offerings, please visit http://www.ibm.com/systems/p/.

About TPC-C

TPC-C simulates a complete computing environment where a population of users executes transactions against a database. The benchmark is centered around the principal activities (transactions) of an order-entry environment. These transactions include entering and delivering orders, recording payments, checking the status of orders, and monitoring the level of stock at the warehouses. While the benchmark portrays the activity of a wholesale supplier, TPC-C is not limited to the activity of any particular business segment but, rather represents any industry that must manage, sell, or distribute a product or service.

The TPC-C benchmark continues to be a popular yardstick for comparing OLTP performance on various hardware and software configurations. TPC-C is the industry-standard benchmark for measuring the performance and scalability of OLTP systems. It tests a broad cross-section of database functionality including inquiry, update, and queued mini-batch transactions. Many IT professionals consider TPC-C to be a valid indicator of "real-world" OLTP system performance.

TPC also measures the price/performance of a system by dividing the total system cost by the performance, measured in transactions per minute (tpmC). The TPC-C benchmark measures throughput in business tpmC for a simulated order-entry and distribution environment. Specifically, it measures how many new order tpmC a system generates while the system is simultaneously executing four other transaction types, such as payments, order-status updates, deliveries, and stock-level changes.

The Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC), a not-for-profit organization, was founded to define transaction processing and database performance benchmarks, such as the TPC-C, TPC-H, and TPC-W benchmarks, and to disseminate objective performance data based on these benchmarks. TPC benchmarks have extremely stringent requirements, including both reliability and durability tests, and must undergo an independent audit. Council members include most major database vendors and suppliers of server hardware systems. For additional information, visit http://www.tpc.org/.

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider, helping clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM's hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently, and securely. IBM's breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM's legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity, and service.

For more information, visit: www.ibm.com.

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