Introduction

Several months ago, Sun gave us the opportunity to look at a quad Opteron, 3U rackmount server that had everyone reevaluating Intel's dominance in the server arena. Four months later, AMD finally has some significant market share for entry level servers. Our original quad Opteron 850 server was an impressive piece of machinery, but since AMD's launch of dual core processors, a whole new class of high performance entry servers has evolved.

Sun was extremely pleased to announce to us that their dual core V40z had set the 64-bit SPEC JBB2000 World Record. We couldn't have been more excited to get a similar configuration for our testing to do some real world benchmarks for ourselves! Today we will look at one of these high performance Sun Fire V40z machines and see how they compare against the previous generation of V40z.

Since we are looking at an 8-core Opteron server today, a huge portion of our time will be dedicated to investigating scalability. While it is relatively hard to take an operating system or application and design it to run on two processors instead of one, it is also equally hard to take a system designed for two processes and scale it to eight. The cost prohibitive nature of 8-way systems traditionally make scaling defects difficult to really ascertain, and likewise its not too often that we even pay attention to them. With processors heading toward dual and eventually quad core, scalability of the OS and hardware begin to carry more and more weight.

For anyone in the computer business, there really isn't a better feeling than seeing 8 Opterons POST.

New Changes to the V40z
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  • kbsartain - Thursday, June 30, 2005 - link

    The Database benchmarks are likely bottlenecked on storage. Attach a high-speed array with multiple disks, and the scaling would be much more linear vs. 2-way. Reply
  • ceefka - Thursday, June 30, 2005 - link

    It would be nice if other Opteron-builders would add to the test so we can get an idea of how well the Opteron is implemented.

    I'd say webspace is best served with dualcore Opterons. 90% gain! Holy moly!

    #23 I have worked as a temporary at Sun in The Netherlands in 1987 when they were about to release their 4/ series. Their 3/ machines were already considered top notch then. They offered workstations with an optical mouse that moved over a special gridpad and full color screens. That was really something special then. No AMD CPUs at that time.

    To be perfectly honest as well, I also didn't know them before I worked there ;-)
    Reply
  • sprockkets - Thursday, June 30, 2005 - link

    SuSE Linux Enterprise not enterprise enough for u? Reply
  • KristopherKubicki - Thursday, June 30, 2005 - link

    hondaman: This is why we used SLES this time around instead of RH9. Unfortunately the previous single-core V40z tests were all done a few months ago when we had that machine.

    Kristopher
    Reply
  • Xenoterranos - Thursday, June 30, 2005 - link

    Wow, I wish my company had a use for a system like that. I'd take a paycut just to be able to play with it for a while... damned fine enginering on both Sun and AMD's part. And to be prefectly honest, I never really payed Sun that much attention until they started using AMD procs. Everyone else needs to get with the program and give AMD the market share they deserve...oh wait...I'll stop there. Reply
  • slashbinslashbash - Thursday, June 30, 2005 - link

    #21: Read the comments and you'll find your answer.

    Kristopher: Page 7, "Apache Benchmarks" text:

    "It's also interesting to note the difference between Solaris 10 and SLES 9 here. As the threads increased, there was a wider gap between performance of the Solaris configuration and the SLES configuration in favor of Solaris."

    The graph on that page shows the opposite, with SLES outperforming Solaris.
    Reply
  • finbarqs - Thursday, June 30, 2005 - link

    wait why the xbox360/ps3 article taken down? Reply
  • hondaman - Thursday, June 30, 2005 - link

    can you swap suse with a real enterprise os like rhel? Reply
  • themelon - Thursday, June 30, 2005 - link

    I guess I should have kept reading.

    Sorry.

    I have one of the v40's in my lab with 4 of the 875's. Very nice machine.
    Reply
  • Doormat - Thursday, June 30, 2005 - link

    Does anyone know if the v20zs were dual core-capable? I heard that if you negotiate with sun (go to sun's ebay sale for the v20z), you can get really good deals. I'd love to just get two 270s if/when the prices come down. Reply

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