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IBM Announces #1 UNIX Benchmark and Compelling Economics for HP Users to Switch

Eight Cores of IBM Power Beats 64 Cores of PA-RISC With Just Nine Percent of Energy Costs; Trade-in Program Sweetens the Deal

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ARMONK, NY - 20 Mar 2008: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced outstanding new performance results on the new System p(TM) 550 Express, along with an aggressive program that offers customers trade-in credit for replacing competitive machines from HP, Sun and other UNIX(R) vendors.

IBM is specifically reaching out to users who are still buying HP PA-RISC systems, as those customers may no longer be able to buy PA-RISC systems from HP by year end and have so far resisted the migration path HP is proposing to HP Integrity Systems. IBM estimates there are more than 170,000 of these systems still in customer production.

The 4.2GHz POWER6™ processor-based System p 550 Express achieved 629,159 tpmC on an 8-core p550 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 transaction per minute TPC-C result from a small, energy efficient eight-core IBM p550 offers 16 percent more database transaction performance. An eight-core p550 uses only nine percent of the energy costs compared to a 64-core HP 9000 Superdome PA-RISC 8700 (1) and uses only two percent of the space. 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 p550 is a 4U server utilizing just two cubic feet or 1/10th of one standard 42U rack. Using 56 fewer cores, customers can also 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® (2).

The p550 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 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 Power™ Systems offerings, now with POWER6 processors, demonstrate IBM's continued commitment to organizations of all sizes. In addition to energy conservation and virtualization technologies, Power offers industry-leading performance. In fact, IBM is the leader in more than 70 key computing performance benchmarks (3). IBM is also the leading provider of UNIX solutions in the world today and has been number one for 10 quarters in a row (4).

Trade-in program capitalizes on upcoming PA-RISC end of life
In line with these leadership results, IBM last month introduced a program designed to assist customers facing uncertainty about the ability to order new PA-RISC systems after December 31, 2008, and the delay of Sun's ROCK processor by incenting clients to move to 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."

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.

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.

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, available now. 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 For more information on IBM System p servers and offerings, please visit

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.

Source: Results as of 3/17/08.

Contact(s) information

Rick Bause
IBM Media Relations

1 IBM TPC-C result of 629,159 tpmC, $2.49/tpmC on an 8-core (4 processor chips, 16 threads) 4.2 GHz System p 550 running DB2 Enterprise 9 on AIX V5.3 vs. HP TPC-C result of 541,674 tpmC, $11.66/tpmC on a 64-core (64 processor chips, 64 threads) 875 MHz PA RISC HP 9000 Superdome (configuration available 01/30/2004). Power consumption figures of 1,400W for the IBM System p 550 and 16,920W for the HP 9000 Superdome were based on the maximum rates published by IBM and HP, respectively. This information for the p550 is in available at -- search for System p 550. The information for the HP9000 Superdome is available at All systems were compared based on maximum processor configuration because that is the data point for which power requirements are defined. Other configurations of these systems could have lower power consumption. Energy cost of $.01 per kWh is based on 2007 YTD US Average Retail price to commercial customers per US DOE at as of 12/3/07. Air conditioning power requirement estimated at 50% of system power requirement.

2 IBM TPC-C result of 629,159 tpmC, $2.49/tpmC on an 8-core (4 processor chips, 16 threads) 4.2 GHz System p 550 running DB2 Enterprise 9 on AIX V5.3 vs. HP TPC-C result of 372,140 tpmC, $1.81/tpmC on an 8-core (4 chips, 16 threads) 1.6 GHz Intel® Itanium® 2 HP Integrity rx6600 (configuration available 6/11/2007). For more information, visit


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