AMD Quad-core “Barcelona” Processor For Oracle (Part II)

I am a huge AMD fan, but I am now giving up my hopes of finding any substantial information that could be used to predict what Oracle performance might be like on next year’s Barcelona (a.k.a. K8L) quad-core processor. I did, however, find another ” interesting blog” while trolling for information on this topic. Note, the quotes! Folks, NOTE THE QUOTES!!! I’m insinuating something there…

Lowered Expectations?
Anyway, what I am finding is that by AMD’s own predictions, we should expect Barcelona to outperform Intel’s Clovertown (Xeon 5355) processor by about 15% or so. The problem is that there really are no real numbers. You can view this AMD video about Barcelona. In it you’ll find a slide that shows their estimated 70% OLTP improvement over the Opteron 2200 SE product. The 2200 is a Socket F processor and luckily for us there is an audited TPC-C result of 34,923 TpmC/core. Note, I’m boiling down TPC results by core to make some sense of this. The Barcelona processor is 100% compatible with the Socket F family. I find it hard to imagine that Barcelona will be able to squeeze out a 70% performance increase from the same chipset. Oh well. But if it did, that would be a TPC-C result of 59,369 per core. So why then is that AMD video so focused on leap-frogging the Xeon 5355 which “only” gets 30,092 TpmC/core? And why the fixation on the Xeon 5355 when the Xeon 7140 “Tulsa” achieves 39,800 TpmC/core? It was nice and convenient to be able to compare the 2200SE, 5355 and 7140 with TPC results based on the same database—SQL Server.

I also see no evidence of IBM, HP or Dell planning to base a server on Barcelona. That’s scary. I’m expecting some quasi-inside information from Sun. Let’s see if that will help any of this make sense.

The following is shot of the AMD slide predicting 70% performance over the Xeon 5160 and Opteron 2200SE (which as I point out is a bit moot). You may have to right-click and view to zoom in on it:

AMD-Barcelona2

OLTP is Old News
Finally, I’m discovering that you don’t get much information about processors when searching for that old, boring OLTP stuff. If I search for “megatasking +AMD” on the other hand—now that produces a richness of information! I’ve also learned that “enthusiast” is a buzzword AMD and Intel are both beating on heavily. I was completely unaware that there is actually what is known as an “enthusiast market”. It seems customers in this particular market buy processors that also wind up in servers for OLTP. I just hope the processors they are making for “enthusiasts” are also reasonably fit for Oracle databases. I’m afraid we aren’t going to know until we find out.

In the meantime, I think I’ll push some megatasking tests through my cluster of DL585s.

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