Recent SPARC T4-4 TPC-H Results Prove Oracle Can Do Better Than…Oracle!

I made a blog entry yesterday entitled Recent SPARC T4-4 TPC-H Benchmark Results. Proving Bandwidth! But What Storage? wherein I discussed some recent Oracle SPARC T4 TPC-H benchmark results. I pointed out in the post that the T4-4 is an extreme high-bandwidth server as is evidenced by how closely it performs the same benchmark with only half the processors (sockets) as a recent HP Proliant DL980 result.  I then glued in some screen shots of the disclosure reports to elaborate on the point of bandwidth versus latency. You can push a lot of work through a SPARC T4-4, but that doesn’t mean each individual unit of work is all that fast—relatively speaking.  This was even more so the case with the T3 platform before it.

Single stream Oracle workloads were horrible on the T3 platform, but as one scaled up the workload one could find near-parity between T3 and even Nehalem EP (as per my personal testing). That parity, mind you, is on a socket-for-socket basis.

Lest anyone think I’m being flamboyant regarding my comments on single-stream T3 Oracle performance, just talk to anyone that has ever run the Oracle imp command to import data into a database on a SPARC T3 system.  Miserable, and only one example of the sort of single-stream workloads that didn’t shine on the T3.  But that isn’t what I’m blogging about.

Reader Feedback
I received several emails from readers asking for small clarifications regarding yesterday’s blog entry. They were pretty light questions so I answered them. I also got an email with what I refer to as a passively aggressive interrogative assertion:

Can’t you make valid comparisons?

The answer to that would be, yes, of course. That’s what I did. The comparison I made was between HP Proliant DL980 with SQL Server and the Sun SPARC T4 with, of course, Oracle Database 11g in the same scale factor TPC-H.  That’s a valid comparison. I’d ordinarily just reply to such an email with a convenient URL to the website because the information is all there. However, I gave it some thought and decided I should post a follow-up so regular readers don’t think I’m reaching for straws on a comparison.

So, please put your sarcasm meter on when you read the next sentence. Maybe I should show a comparison between two relatively similar results. The similarities are:

  1. Both SPARC
  2. Both Solaris 10
  3. Both Oracle Database 11g (the same bits)
  4. The same scale
  5. The same storage!
  6. The same calendar year (within close to 3 months of each other)
  7. Within 4% in QphH terms

The following screen shots are SPARC Enterprise M8000  versus SPARC T4-4:



The SPARC results are quite similar. Maybe that’s just how Oracle Database behaves at the 1TB scale? No, it’s not.

Can Oracle Do Better Than…Oracle? Yes.
We can harken back to a couple of years to find an Oracle Database 11g result that looks dramatically different. I’m referring to the last audited TPC benchmark conducted with Oracle in partnership with HP. The benchmark was a large blade cluster at the 1TB scale with Oracle Database 11g In-Memory Parallel Query. Sure, the configuration was much larger and costlier but did it perform accordingly? Yes.

The following is a link to the disclosure.

The cost of the system was about 7x more than the recent 1TB SPARC T4 (with all flash storage) result and delivered just short of 6x the throughput. When you glance at the following screen shot characterizing the query completion times you’ll understand when I suggest that, yes, Oracle probably can do better than…Oracle (SPARC that is).

4 Responses to “Recent SPARC T4-4 TPC-H Results Prove Oracle Can Do Better Than…Oracle!”

  1. 1 Paul Janda December 7, 2011 at 6:11 am

    I have personal experience with poor performance of the T1/T2 and contrasting advertising claims made by Sun people. At OW 2011, the old-school Sun engineers, who now work for Oracle, were quick to admit that the T3 was not that great at single-threaded processing. Yup, you’ve covered all that.
    My main reason for commenting has to do with the nuts and bolts and facts that you have included with your commentary. I have a hard time finding real information about how these various processors, and supporting architectures, compare to each other. Thanks for making that information easier to locate and coalesce.
    Paul Janda

  2. 3 Mark Callaghan December 7, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    This is one of my favorite tech blogs. Some tech blogs are fun to read. This one is fun to read and I learn a lot. Thanks for putting time into this.

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I work for Amazon Web Services. The opinions I share in this blog are my own. I'm *not* communicating as a spokesperson for Amazon. In other words, I work at Amazon, but this is my own opinion.

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