Key Benchmark Proves IBM eServer Outperforms Sun Fire 15K at Half the Price

32-way eServer p690 Beats 72-way Sun Fire 15k on Key Java Benchmark

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ARMONK, N.Y - 07 Dec 2001: IBM today announced that its new IBM eServer [1] p690 set a world record for Java (R) performance by defeating the new Sun Fire 15K, which has more than twice as many processors and is nearly double in price. The Sun 15K is also estimated to consume 1.76 times more electricity than the IBM p690 and generate 1.56 times more heat [2], the bane of server reliability.

The Java benchmark result is the second major industry metric published in the last six weeks to undermine Sun's server design philosophy, which maintains that more processors equals greater performance and scalability. On the contrary, it results in increased energy consumption and heat generation. The "more is better" approach also increases the number of parts that can fail, threatening system uptime.

Code-named "Regatta," the IBM eServer p690 pioneers an innovative system-on-a-chip design, with each chip containing two one-gigahertz-plus processors, a large memory cache and I/O interconnected with other components using a new high performance distributed switch design. This unique architecture enables Regatta to offer tremendous power and reliability, with much fewer processors than competing systems.

Built with technology from IBM's Project eLiza initiative, the eServer p690 is the industry's only UNIX server that offers multiple layers of self-healing technologies designed to allow the system to continue operating -- even through component failures and system errors. The eServer p690 can either be operated as a single large server or divided into as many as 16 "virtual" servers, running any combination of the AIX 5L and Linux operating systems. [3]

IBM: The Java Champion
According to the SPECjbb2000 server-side Java benchmark, a 32-way IBM eServer p690 achieved 339,484 operations per second, outperforming a 72-way Sun Fire 15K, which is based on the UltraSPARCIII microprocessor. [4]

A 32-way IBM eServer p690 with 128 GB memory and 36.4 GB storage costs $2,042,774, while a 72-way Sun Fire 15K with 288 GB memory and 288 GB storage costs $4,061,670. [5]

Even more telling, an IBM eServer p680 -- a previous generation system introduced in October 2000 -- crushed Sun's latest UltraSPARCIII-based technology in the Java benchmark. A 24-way IBM p680 scored 231,346 operations per second, compared with 174,658 for a just-introduced 24-way Sun system.

"The p690's record-setting results demonstrate the scalability and performance IBM eServer customers can expect when deploying Java-based solutions," said Val Rahmani, general manager IBM eServer pSeries. "The fact that the eServer p690 can process high-volume Java transactions with fewer than half the processors of Sun's 15K highlights the incredible price/performance and reliability advantages of IBM eServer."

SPECjbb2000 is just the latest head-to-head test showing the superiority of the IBM eServer p690 over a larger Sun 15K. According to the Fluent engineering benchmark -- touted by Sun as an important "real-world benchmark" -- a 32-way p690 provides far more power than a 72-way Sun Fire 15K. [6]

The IBM eServer p690 competed against the Sun 15K in nine categories of the Fluent benchmark and defeated the Sun 15K in every one.