I've got some mails about the TPC-H@3TB stating that the IBM system costs less per query-per-hour. But i think, this number is a little ... uhmm ... misguiding, okay ... more misguiding than usual benchmark results . Just to state it upfront: It's nothing wrong with the results and i'm totally fine with the benchmark publication of IBM as far as i'm able to find insight to it. I just want to add an additional piece of information that may be worth to consider when you read the benchmark.

In such environments software pricing gets a factor really fast. And this benchmark is no difference. IBM used in their benchmark a special edition of the Sybase IQ database. Sybase IQ is specialized on datawarehousing and decision support, and everybody used that database in DWH/DS benchmarks. Sun too, but that was before Oracle.

In the benchmark, the Sybase IQ Single Application Server Edition.This version is relatively cheap: It's priced at $2595 per CPU. You have to translate CPU into core for the Power6 1:1. So you have to obtain 64 licenses. That costs you $166080 for the license and $109.632 for the mainainance in 3 years.

However this Single Application Server Edition has some constraints. In the license you will find the following paragraph (emphases are mine):
If you purchase a license for the Single Application Server Edition of the Program, the following additional restrictions shall apply. The Single Application Server Edition of the Program (“Single Application Server Edition”) is licensed for installation and use on no more than two (2) networked Machines, and each Machine shall be limited to a maximum of sixty-four (64) Cores. The license fees payable by you for the Single Application Server Edition shall be determined by calculating the total number of Cores on which the Single Application Server Edition is licensed to run. The Single Application Server Edition may be used to manage up to twenty-five (25) tables across a maximum of one hundred (100) columns. For example, the Single Application Server Edition environment may manage (i) twenty-five tables with four (4) columns each or (ii) four (4) tables with twenty-five (25) columns each. The Single Application Server Edition may be used for up to twenty-five (25) terabytes of storage inside the main database of the Program. You may not use the Single Application Server Edition in excess of the licensed Machine, table/column, or terabyte capacity without first purchasing a license for an unrestricted edition of the Program.
The TPC-H uses 8 tables with 61 columns. It's run on one server with exactly 64 cores. And 3 TB are well within the 25 TB limit. That's the reason why i'm fine with this choice. However i was wondered to see, that the Sybase IQ 15.0 stated 16 cores. This would have Sybase IQ SASE ruled out.

Now let's play a little thought game. Imagine, that you are getting over one of the licenced criterias. Perhaps you need some additional columns. Or more tables. Or you need more storage, as you want to put more than one DWH on your server ... or whatever. Your company got bigger ... The pricing impact is quite substantial.

The normal Enterprise Edition of Sybase IQ costs you $55060.68 US$ plus 12113.49$ maintainance per year. With 64-cores and 3years maintainance you are at $5849673.60 (that's one reason, why i consider hardware prices as secondary problem) . Now let's assume a 15% discount: You are at $4.97M. That's a difference of 4,69 Mio$ to the licences used in the benchmark.

Now you want to compute your own $ per QphH number derived from the TPC-H benchmark, just with the seperation that you want to use the Enterprise Edition of Sybase IQ: The extra licensing costs per QphH are $30 ... so you are at a price of 50.60 USD in this customer-specific derivation of the TPC-H numbers. And that's significantly more than the $23.99 per QphH. For the benchmark itself, my considerations are not relevant, but in reality they may be very relevant.

The Oracle license used in the M9000 Benchmark doesn't know such a tables/colums/space limitation. So you can grow as you want. That said, you have to take the Oracle pricing with a grain of salt, too: The licensing scheme is "Oracle Database 11g Release 2 Enterprise Edition, Named User Plus for 3 years". So it isn't a perpetual licence. Such an 3 years license is 50% of the perpetual license. However this is okay, as the TPC-H measures the costs for 3 years.

Some other thoughts:
  • It would be really interesting to know how well the M9000 would work with Sybase IQ ...
  • I know that there are more disks in the Oracle configuration, however the IBM solution uses a database specialized on warehousing .... Oracle F5100 and JBODS, IBM HW-Raid Controller.

Read More about [Some additional thoughts about the TPC-H@3TB benchmark...