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Measuring Real-World Power Consumption, Part One

The Equal Workload (EWL) version of vApus FOS is very similar to our previous vApus Mark II "Real-world Power" test. To create a real-world “equal workload” scenario, we throttle the number of users in each VM to a point where you typically get somewhere between 20% and 80% CPU load on a modern dual CPU server. The amount of requests is the same for each system, hence "equal workload".

The CPU Load on the Opteron 6276 looked like this:

The CPU load is typically around 30-50%, with peaks up to 65%. At the end of the test, we get to a low 10%, which is ideal for the machine to boost to higher CPU clocks (Turbo) and race to idle. First we check out the response times.

vApus FOS Response times (ms)
CPU PhpBB1 PHPBB2 MySQL OLAP Zimbra
AMD Opteron 6276 134 47 3.6 44
AMD Opteron 6174 118 41 3.8 45
Intel Xeon X5670 76 27 2.2 28

ESXi and our Interlagos "Opteron" probably don't understand each other fully, given the newness of the architecture. Some extensive monitoring with ESXtop shows that the lower CPU load is spread among all the cores, and the result is that the Opteron 6276 never reaches its highest clock speed (3.2GHz). That helps make the response times significantly higher than on the Xeon, although they are acceptable. Again, the Interlagos Opteron fails to really beat the "Magny-cours" Opteron.

Our main focus of this benchmark is of course energy consumption.

vApus FOS EWL Power consumption

The Xeon consumes 25% less power, and the older Opteron about 10% less. The performance/Watt ratio of the newest Opteron looks rather bad when running on top of ESX. We shall delve into this deeper in the next several pages.

Virtualization Performance: Linux VMs on ESXi Virtualization Performance: ESX + Windows
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  • zappb - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    Thanks Johan for the ungodly amount of time you and your team spent on this review, also thanks to all contributors to the comments which was very useful to get more context to someone like myself who is not very up to speed with server tech.

    The 45 Watt and 65 watt Opterons not mentioned on the front page of the article (but mentioned in the comments - are these based on Interlagos?)

    To me it looks like a big win for AMD - and these benchmarks are are not even optimised for the architecture (Linux kernel 3 was not used - can't wait to see updated benchmarks, something like FreeBSD or when we get an updated scheduler for the windows server OS's...should make a big difference.

    Really low idle power consumption is nice, and Im planning to pick one of these up (for home use) to play around with FreeBSD, vm's, etc...just for training purposes,

    The other point about Intel's sandybridge Xeons, these are just going to be 8 core 3960x right? Which may not change the current server landscape very much depending on their prices.
    Reply
  • JWesterby - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    Respect is due, Johan! You did a very useful review under significant limitations. The very best part is to point an unbiased light at a damned interesting CPU. There is an important "next step," which I will address shortly.

    As always, just the mention of AMD brings out hysterical attacks. One would think we were talking about Stem Cell research!! There is no real discussion -- it's pitchforks, lit torches, and a stake ready for poor Johan and anyone else ready and willing to consider the mere possibility that AMD have produced worthy technology!!

    Computer technology - doing it, anyway - has changed. It's become ALL about the bloody money, and the "culture" of the people doing technology has also changed -- it has become much more cut-throat, there is far less collegiality, and the number of people willing to take risks on projects has become really uncommon. Qualified people doing serious technology just because they can is uncommon.

    There is no end to posers (including some on this board), Machiavellian Fortune 500 IT managers, and "Project Managers" who are clueless (there ARE some great IT managers and wonderful PM's but their numbers are shrinking). My hat to those in Open Source - they are the Last Bastion of decency for the sake of decency, and technology merely for the joy of doing it !!

    "Back in the day" people seemed really into the technology, solving difficult problems, and making good things happen. There was truly a culture. For example not taking a moment to help someone on the team or otherwise made you a jerk. Development was a craft or an art, and we were all in it together. We are loosing that, and it's become more dog-eat-dog with a kind of mean spirit. What a shame. Many of the comments here are perfect examples -- people who would rather burn down the temple than give a new and challenging technology a good think.

    Personally I can't wait to get my hands on a couple of AMD's new CPU's, build a decent server, and carefully work out the issues with patience. These new Opterons are like a whole new tech that may be the beginning of all new territory.

    My passion and some professional work is coding at the back end in C/C++ and I'm just beginning to understand CUDA and using GPU's to beef up parallel code. My work is all around (big) data warehousing, cutting edge columnar databases, almost everything running virtual, all the way through to analytics on BI platforms. I do all of that both on MS Server 2008, Solaris and FreeBSD. All that is a perfect environment to test AMD's "new territory."

    Probably worth a blog at some point because these processors are new territory and using them well will take some work just keeping track of all the small things that shake out. That's the "next step" that this and other reviews require to really understand AMD's Bulldozers. Doing that well, if AMD is right with these chips, means being able to build some great back-end servers at a much more approachable price; more importantly without paying an "Intel" tax, and in the end having two strong vendors and thereby more freedom to make the best choice for the requirement.
    Reply
  • PhotoPrint - Sunday, December 25, 2011 - link

    you should make fair comparison at the same price range!
    lts like comparing GTX580 VS AMD RADEON 6950!
    Reply
  • g101 - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    Wow, anad let the truth about bulldozer leak out. Reply
  • ppennisi - Wednesday, March 07, 2012 - link

    To obtain maximum performance from my Dell R715 server equipped with dual Interlagos processor I had to DISABLE C1E in the BIOS.

    Under VMware the machines performance changed completely, almost doubled in performance.

    Maybe you should try it.
    Reply
  • anti_shill - Monday, April 02, 2012 - link

    Here's a more accurate reflection of Bulldozer/ interlagos performance, untainted by intel ad bucks...

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&...

    But if u really want to see what the true story is, have a look at AMD's stock price lately, and their server wins. They absolutely smoke intel on virtualization, and anything that requires a lot of threads. It's not even close. That would be the reason this review pits Interlagos against an Intel processor that costs twice as much.
    Reply

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