As my colleague Ingo said a while ago: "It doesn't matter how fast you stir your meal while cooking when you wait for your sweetheart to search the wine. You can't eat a minute earlier". And i found a another example for this: The newly published TPC-H 3 TB benchmark for the IBM p595, the biggest system in the Power series.

But i will go into the past before: In 2007 (in IT thats halfway to infinity) Sun benchmarked the E25K with 72 sockets at 1.8 GHz with two cores per socket and 256 GBytes of memory. This benchmark yielded 114,713.7 QphH.

2 years, 224 GBytes main memory and 3.2 GHz later the biggest machine available from IBM is just 34 percent faster (to be exact: 154,115.8 QphH) than the biggest machine available from Sun from two years ago ... based on a design from the beginning of this century.

By the way: Just in case you wonder about the memory configuration - 512 GB is the maximum configuration that can be used with 667 MHz. More downclocks the memory. Using 4 TB of memory would downclock it to 400 MHz.

Perhaps the challenge gets a little more clear, when we stay in the same shop: Almost 4 years ago IBM published a result of the p5-595. This system yielded with 1.9 Ghz Power5 CPU 100,512.30 QphH. 4 years of development, 256 GByte more memory and 2.6 times the frequency gives you just roundabout 50% more performance. Nice, but not that impressive, especially given the effort put into this CPU in regard of cycles.

An thats perhaps the most important takeaway from this point: Ingo was right. Just increasing the frequency isn't sufficient. It gets clearer with every published benchmark. You have to do more or different. Perhaps the future of large SMP systems is in a more efficient communication between the components, more real bandwidth (not all bandwidths added into a number for marketing purposes) and less bandwidth between the CPUs and between CPU and bandwith.

But i have a request to our benchmarking team: I would like to see an TPC-H result for the M9000 at 3TB. Giving the existing results for the M9000, putting some knowledge into the equation and doing some extrapolations i don't think that that we have to fear this competition. But thats just an educated guess.

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