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  • phantasm - Wednesday, April 05, 2006 - link

    While I appreciate the review, especially the performance benchmarks between Solaris and Linux on like hardware, I can't help but feel this article falls short in terms of an enterprise class server review which, undoubtedly, a lot of enterprise class folks will be looking for.

    * Given the enterprise characteristics of the T2000 I would have liked to see a comparison against an HP DL385 and IBM x366.

    * The performance testing should have been done with the standard Opteron processors (versus the HE). The HP DL385 using non HE processors have nearly the same power and thermal characteristics as the T2000. DL385 is a 4A 1615 BTU system whereas the T2000 is a 4A 1365 BTU system.

    * The T2000 is difficient in serveral design areas. It has a tool-less case lid that is easily removable. However, our experience has been that it opens too easily and given the 'embedded kill switch' it immediately shuts off without warning. Closing the case requires slamming the lid shut several times.

    * The T2000 only supports *half height* PCI-E/X cards. This is an issue with using 3rd party cards.

    * Solaris installation has a nifty power savings feature enabled by default. However, rather than throtteling CPU speed or fans it simply shuts down to the OK prompt after 30 minutes of a 'threshold' not being met. Luckily this 'feature' can be disabled through the OS.

    * Power button -- I ask any T2000 owner to show me one that doesn't have a blue or black mark from a ball point pen on their power button. Sun really needs to make a more usable power button on these systems.

    * Disk drives -- The disk drives are not labeled with FRU numbers or any indication to size and speed.

    * Installing and configuring Solaris on a T2000 versus Linux on an x86 system will take a factor of 10x longer. Most commonly, this is initially done through a hyperterm access through the remote console. (Painful) Luckily subsequent builds can be done through a jumpstart server.

    * HW RAID Configuration -- This can only be done through the Solaris OS commands.

    I hope Anandtech takes up the former call to begin enterprise class server reviews.
  • JohanAnandtech - Thursday, April 06, 2006 - link

    DL385 will be in our next test.

    All other issues you adressed will definitely be checked and tested.

    That it falls short of a full review is clearly indicated by "first impressions" and it has been made clear several times in the article. Just give us a bit more time to get the issues out of our benchmarks. We had to move all our typical linux x86 benchmarks to Solaris and The T1 and keep it fair to Sun. This meant that we had to invest massive amounts of time in migrating databases and applications and tuning them.
  • davem330 - Friday, March 24, 2006 - link

    You aren't seeing the same kind of performance that Sun is claiming
    regarding Spec Web2005 because Sun specifically choose workloads
    that make heavy use of SSL.

    Niagara has on-chip SSL acceleration, using a per-core modular
    arithmetic unit.

    BTW, would be nice to get a Linux review on the T2000 :-)
  • blackbrrd - Saturday, March 25, 2006 - link

    Good point about the ssl.

    I can see both ssl and gzip beeing used quite often, so please include ssl into the benchmarks.

    As mentioned in the article 1-2% of FP operations affect the server quite badly, so I would say that getting one FPU per core would make the cpu a lot better, looking forward to seeing results from the next generation.

    .. but then again, both Intel and AMD will probably have launched quad cores by then...

    Anyway, its interesting seeing a third contender :)
  • yonzie - Friday, March 24, 2006 - link

    Nice review, a few comments though:


    Eight 144-bit DDR DIMM slots allow...
    I think that should have been

    , although you might mean dual channel ECC memory, but if that's the case it's a strange way to write it IMHO.

    No mention of the Pentium M on page 4, but it shows up in benchmarks on page 5 but not further on... Would have been interesting :-(


    There are two ways that the T2000 could be useful as a web server. The first one is to use Solaris zoning (a.k.a. "Solaris containers") techniques to run a lot of light/medium web servers in parallel virtual zones. As virtualisation is still something that requires quite a bit of expertise, and we didn't have much experience with Solaris Zones, we decided to test the second scenario.

    And the second scenario is what exactly? ;-) (yeah, I know it's written a few paragraphs later, but...)

    Oh, and more pretty pictures pls ^_^
  • sitheris - Friday, March 24, 2006 - link

    Why not benchmark it on a more intensive application like Oracle 10g Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Friday, March 24, 2006 - link

    We are still tuning and making sure our results are 100% accurate. Sounds easy, but it is incredible complex.
    But they are coming

    Anyway, no Oracle, we have no support from them so far.
  • JCheng - Friday, March 24, 2006 - link

    By using a cache file you are all but taking MySQL and PHP out of the equation. The vast majority of requests will be filled by simply including the cached content. Can we get another set of results with the caching turned off? Reply
  • ormandj - Friday, March 24, 2006 - link

    I would agree. Not only that, but I sure would like to know what the disk configuration was. Especially reading from a static file, this makes a big difference. Turn off caching and see how it does, that should be interesting!

    Disk configurations please! :)
  • kamper - Friday, March 31, 2006 - link

    No kidding. I thought that php script was pretty dumb. Once a minute you'll get a complete anomaly as a whole load of concurrent requests all detect an out of date file, recalculate it and then try to dump their results at the same time.

    How much time was spent testing each request rate and did you try to make sure each run came across the anomaly in the same way, the same number of times?
  • drw - Friday, March 24, 2006 - link

    Based on the kernel versions listed, I assume that a 32-bit distro was used?

    If so, am curious how a 64-bit distro would compare, as both Apache and MySQL benefit greatly by 64 bit.
  • JohanAnandtech - Friday, March 24, 2006 - link

    Fully 64 bit. uname -a clearly indicates 64 bit Reply
  • defter - Friday, March 24, 2006 - link


    At first sight, Sun has won the performance/watt battle for now

    Dual Opteron 275HE had 5% higher power consumpion (198W vs 188W), but it was 5-30% faster (depending wherever or not gzip was used). These results would suggest that dual Opteron has won performance/watt battle in this benchmarks.

    Pricing is also quite important. What's the price for dual Opteron 275HE server with 8GB of memory? About $5000-7000?
  • PeterMobile - Friday, March 24, 2006 - link

    Definitely interesting to see a 3. party review of the T2000. I think it could also be interesting to compare both the Sun machine and the x86 servers to an IBM p5 510Q. That's a 4-way 1.5 GHz Power5+, which including 4 GB RAM and 2 Ultra320 disks lists for $8,536. Reply
  • Calin - Friday, March 24, 2006 - link

    I saw there is almost no loss of performance for compressing data... how about encrypting it? Reply
  • cxl - Friday, March 24, 2006 - link


    The very common ADD instruction is executed in one cycle, but it takes no less than 29 cycles to multiply and 104 to divide. Faster mul and division would have taken up much more die space and consumed much more power. Considering that those instructions are very rare in most server workloads, this is a pretty clever trade-off.

    Actually, MOD operation can be very important for servers, as it is basis for any hashing operations, commonly used in many server applications. E.g. to identify variable in a script, interpreters routinely use hashtables.

    114 cycles per MOD operation is performance disaster.
  • Calin - Friday, March 24, 2006 - link

    The performance in the tested configuration was quite good - I wonder how other benchmarks and maybe other "twists" of the benchmark tested would look like. Reply
  • cosmotic - Friday, March 24, 2006 - link


    Last, but certainly least, Sun’s solid engineering has impressed us.

    Did you mean certainly NOT least?
  • JohanAnandtech - Friday, March 24, 2006 - link

    definitely ... Fixed. Just checking if you read it carefully :-) Reply
  • cosmotic - Friday, March 24, 2006 - link

    Why no graphs? It makes reading benchmarks SO much easier. Reply
  • JackPack - Friday, March 24, 2006 - link

    Pleasant to read as usual, Johan.

    BTW, are they letting you keep the T2000?">
  • PandaBear - Friday, March 24, 2006 - link

    In terms of Branded server it is a good price, but as benchmark have shown, a Dual Opteron running Linux both perform better and use less power. I think people who buy these class of server want support and service (and build quality) and in that case Sun certain would win the whitebox builder no matter how good a Dual Opteron is.

    Nonetheless it is a good product, for the one who demand this kind of quality. Now Intel's solution really looks bad.
  • Calin - Friday, March 24, 2006 - link

    I don't know what you are talking about - if you would up the memory on the Opteron HE (2CPU of 2 cores) to 32GB, the power consumption would be almost the same (assuming 6W per 4GB of RAM, it would be at 234W. Close enough to be considered equal, I'd say.
    Also, wouldn't populating all the possible memory slots on the Opteron decrease a bit its performance? I don't know about Opteron, but Athlon64 decrease its command rate (Help, Johan! :) ) when working with all the memory channels filled.
    I agree about the better performance of the Opteron server, but regarding the power use, it is the same as the Sun's recent offering. Maybe the introduction of the DDR2 Opterons would change the power envelope, but until then, the T1 might have some aces up its sleeve
  • JohanAnandtech - Friday, March 24, 2006 - link

    You must calculate about 4-5 Watt per 2 GB Dimm. Based on the measurements I did and slightly guessing I think a 32 GB Opteron HE with 32 GB would definitely consume more than The T2000 as also have to count a few Watts per memory channel.

    Indeed, fully loaded DIMM channels will probably throttle back to lower speeds. I am not sure about Command rate though (BTW, it increases on the Athlon 64 not decreases :-), as it is possible less important with buffered DIMMs.

    About performance, we still have to test a lot of scenario's (jsp, databases). The impression of the T2000 might still change.
  • Zoomer - Sunday, April 09, 2006 - link

    2xx Opterons use rigistered ram, so its not an issue like with the 1xx 939s. Reply
  • Calin - Friday, March 24, 2006 - link

    I just took the difference measured between the 2xOpteron HE with 4 and 8 GB or RAM (192 and 198W), shown in the table on the last page. I know that even rounding errors might change that between 4 and 8W, but anyway, Opterons won't use less power than the T1.
    Very interesting article, and I eagerly await for the sequels :D

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