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Migrating from Solaris to AIX

The increasing performance leadership of IBM POWER5 processors, the industry-leading features of the eServer pSeries product line and the AIX OS capabilities make a strong argument for migrating from Sun Solaris to AIX.

The POWER5 processor is IBM's third dual-core chip. It's made using a 130 nanometer copper/SOI process that allows IBM to run the POWER5 processor up to 1.9 GHz. It's huge, at 389 square millimeters and 276 million transistors, and there's 1.9 MB of on-chip L2 cache for the two cores to share.

I admit this may sound like a lot of techno-babble. The average user of open-systems platforms--such as the pSeries or Solaris servers--might not care as much about these facts. What really matters to most users is the performance of their systems. I'll explain what the IBM servers bring to the table.

Performance in Benchmarks

The Transaction Processing Performance Council Benchmark C (TPC-C) evaluates online transaction processing (OLTP) using simulated order-entry and distribution-environment applications, measured in transaction processes per minute (tpmC). Its TPC-C performance result of 809,144 tpmC placed the IBM eServer p5 570 server with 16 processors among the top five systems. As the one system in the top 10 with only 16 processors, this configuration's $4.95 per tpmC realized the best price performance of the top 10 systems. No Solaris systems made the top 10 list.

The Standard Performance Evaluation Corp. OpenMP Benchmark Suite (SPEC OMPM2001) measures parallel-processing capabilities using a suite of applications based on OpenMP standards for shared-memory parallel processing. It's used to gauge effectiveness for high-performance and technical computing. The SPEC organization's OMPM2001 benchmark testing of the IBM eServer p5 570 server with only four CPUs and running Linux resulted in a base runtime of 12,403. When compared to the 11,188 result of the Sun Fire 6800 with 24 processor cores, the leadership of the IBM platform is clear.

Another SPEC benchmark, the SPECweb99_SSL, measures the maximum number of secure simultaneous connections over the SSL protocol that a Web server is able to support. A 4-way IBM eServer p5 570 server running Linux ran 4,970 simultaneous secure connections. In comparison, the Sun Fire V480 with four processors ran only 568 simultaneous secure connections.

Not all workloads are commercial, however. The Linpack benchmark measures how fast a dedicated system can solve a dense system of linear equations as a means of determining the system's floating-point performance. It measures how effectively the system can solve problems for high-performance and technical computing. For example, a 16-way IBM eServer p5 570 server (1.90 GHz) is the best-in-class 16-way SMP (103.1 Gigaflop/sec).

Jim Rice is the Principal IT Architecture Consultant for MSI Systems Integrators. Jim can be reached at

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