The story behind the high-end Xeon E7 has been an uninterrupted triumphal march for the past 5 years: Intel's most expensive Xeon beats Oracle servers - which cost a magnitude more -  silly, and offers much better performance per watt/dollar than the massive IBM POWER servers.  Each time a new generation of quad/octal socket Xeons is born, Intel increases the core count, RAS features, and performance per core while charging more for the top SKUs. Each time that price increases is justified, as the total cost of a similar RISC server is a factor more than an Xeon E7 server. From the Intel side, this new generation based upon the Haswell core is no different: more cores (18 vs 15), better RAS, slightly more performance per core and ... higher prices. 

However, before you close this tab of your browser, know that even this high-end market is getting (more) exciting. Yes, Intel is correct in that the market momentum is still very much in favor of themselves and thus x86. 

No less than 98% of the server shipments have been "Intel inside". No less than 92-94% of the four socket and higher servers contain Intel Xeons.  From the revenue side, the RISC based systems are still good for slightly less than 20% of the $49 Billion (per year) server market*.  Oracle still commands about 4% (+/- $2 Billion), but has been in a steady decline. IBM's POWER based servers are good for about 12-15% (including mainframes) or $6-7 Billion depending on who you ask (*).  

It is however not game over (yet?) for IBM. The big news of the past months is that IBM has sold its x86 server division to Lenovo. As a result, Big Blue finally throw its enormous weight behind the homegrown POWER chips. Instead of a confusing and half heartly "we will sell you x86 and Itanium too" message, we now get the "time to switch over to OpenPOWER" message. IBM spent $1 billion to encourage ISVs to port x86-linux applications to the Power Linux platform.  IBM also opened up its hardware: since late 2013, the OpenPower Foundation has been growing quickly with Wistron (ODM), Tyan and Google building hardware on top of the Power chips. The OpenPOWER Foundation now has 113 members, and lots of OpenPower servers are being designed and build. Timothy Green of the Motley fool believes OpenPower will threaten Intel's server hegemony in the largest server market, China.   

But enough of that. This is Anandtech, and here we quantify claims instead of just rambling about changing markets. What has Intel cooked up and how does it stack up to the competion? Let's find out.

(*) Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker, 2014Q1, May 2014, Vendor Revenue Share

The New Xeon E7v3
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  • thunng8 - Monday, May 11, 2015 - link

    Sorry about the language

    A couple points that are wrong on benchmarks:
    - The Power7 p270 is a 2 socket system with 2 processors in one socket (4 processors). It was designed to get more cores into 1 socket and not outright performance per processor. If you want to show the best quad processor on 4 socket system, then it would be this result:
    http://download.sap.com/download.epd?context=40E2D...

    - Your comment about Power7 needing more sockets to match Intel is not based on reality. IBM held the 8 socket lead in SAP SD from March 2010 with this result:
    http://download.sap.com/download.epd?context=40E2D...

    It wasn't surpassed by Intel until June 2014 with this result:
    http://download.sap.com/download.epd?context=40E2D...

    Note: Even the Power7 result from 2010 shows higher throughput per core than the just released Haswell server chips.

    And then 4 months later Power8 overtook it again. BTW, IBM recently announced the 12 core 4.02Ghz cpu in the E880..that should get an extra ~15% throughput per socket.

    - Power8 L2 cache runs at full speed clock speed

    A point completely overlooked and what makes Power systems really excel is the efficiency of the Power hypervisor. IMO it is the biggest selling point of the Power ecosystem.
    Reply
  • thunng8 - Monday, May 11, 2015 - link

    Another datapoint (not on spec site yet, but listed on the IBM e880 performance site):

    http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/power/hardware/e880/...

    SpecIntRate: 14400
    SpecfpRate: 11400

    Which makes it (per processor):
    SpecIntrate: 900
    SepcfpRate: 713
    Reply
  • thunng8 - Monday, May 11, 2015 - link

    Also, the ibm power 760 is the same deal with the p270.

    It is actually a 4 socket system with 2 processors per socket.

    Technical overview here:

    http://www.redbooks.ibm.com/redpapers/pdfs/redp498...
    Reply
  • thunng8 - Wednesday, May 13, 2015 - link

    Well, it has been a few days since I've listed a quite few of your misrepresentations of the data in comparison to POWER, and nothing has changed and no reply at all.

    I find it hilarious that you can put this text in the article:
    "the new POWER8 has made the Enterprise line of IBM more competitive than ever. Gone are the days that IBM needed more CPU sockets than Intel to get the top spot."

    and still have it there when I've pointed out over the last 5 years (or maybe longer, I couldn't be bothered looking further), Intel has only overtaken POWER system for only 4 months. i.e. 4 months out of 60+ months
    Reply
  • JlHADJOE - Sunday, May 10, 2015 - link

    "No less than 98% of the server shipments have been 'Intel inside'... From the revenue side, the RISC based systems are still good for slightly less than 20% of the $49 Billion (per year) server market*."

    Wow! So RISC has 2% market share and 20% revenue.
    Reply
  • FunBunny2 - Monday, May 11, 2015 - link

    Gee. Sounds kinda like the Apple approach to production. Reply
  • akula2 - Sunday, May 10, 2015 - link

    POWER8 is far better than Intel's counterpart.
    IBM is way ahead of Intel for the next generation computing with their Brain Chip.

    I hope Intel's share slips with the emerging ARM 64 bit CPU (A-72) in the Server space.
    Reply
  • ats - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Whoa, there is wrong then there is Brutalizer WRONG!

    First of all many IMDBs support full locking at multiple granularity including both TimesTen and SAP HANA. IMDBs are not read only and are used in the most critical performance transaction processing scenarios (because disk based DBs simply can't keep up!)

    Second, IMDBs are used for a variety of DB workloads from transaction processing to analytic workloads.

    Third, if your queries are taking hours, you are doing analytic workloads, not transaction processing. Transaction processing is the DB workload most dependent on locking functionality and requires real time responses. Analytic workloads are the least dependent on locking performance.

    Fourth, many IMDBs are designed and deployed as the sole DB layer, including SAP HANA and TimesTen. Both fully support shadowing to disk.

    Fifth, you can run businesses on **SCALE UP** severs like UV2K. Unless you now want to claim you can run businesses on mainframes, Sun's large scale servers, Fujitsu's large scale servers, IBMs large scale servers, or HP's large scale servers.

    Sixth, if you think an UV2K is a cluster, you don't have enough knowledge to even post about this topic. UV2k is a SSI cache coherent SMP, no different than Oracle Sparc M6 or and IBM P795.

    Seventh, you don't need a direct channel between sockets. You have never needed a direct channel between sockets. In fact the system that put Sun on the map, UE10K, did not have direct connections between each socket. In fact MANY MANY large scale sun systems have not had direct connections between sockets. If you actually knew anything about the history of big servers you would know that direct connections can be slower, using switches can be slower, and using torii and hypercubes can be slower, or they all can be faster. Looking at an interconnection network topology doesn't tell you jack. What matters is latency and latency vs load.

    Eighth, people who fail at math should probably not try to make math based arguments. To directly connect N sockets, each socket needs N-1 links, no n^2 links. And you should probably learn something about how bandwidth and latency works. The more you directly connect, the less bandwidth you have between each node and the highly the latency hot spotting becomes. Using min channel widths isn't necessarily the best solution. And actually, you can have throughput and low latency, it just impacts cost.

    Ninth, ScaleMP has no relation to SGI's UV2k. None.

    10th, more business software runs on X86 than anything else in the world. More DBs run on x86 than anything else in the world. And neither ScaleMP nor UV2k are scale out solutions. UV2K is a pure scale-up system. You might know that if you only had a clue.

    1) There are 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, AND 256 processor **SCALE-UP** x86 systems. And the x86 Superdome delivers higher performance than any previous HP scale-up system. And no, you don't need socket counts, you need performance. Socket counts are quite immaterial, and shrinking by the by.

    2) SGI UV2K is not a scale out system. Its a SSI Scale Up system. When you finally admit this, you'll be one step closer to not riding the short bus.

    And fyi, plenty of people use x86 for large sap installations. In fact, x86 runs more sap installations than anyone else combined.

    Oh and: http://global.sap.com/solutions/benchmark/bweml-re...

    And just for fun, WE LAUGH AT YOUR PUNY ORACLE SAPS: http://global.sap.com/solutions/benchmark/sd3tier.... still under a million? You are being beaten by 8 socket servers, ouch that's gotta hurt!
    Reply
  • ats - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Whoa, there is wrong then there is Brutalizer WRONG!

    First of all many IMDBs support full locking at multiple granularity including both TimesTen and SAP HANA. IMDBs are not read only and are used in the most critical performance transaction processing scenarios (because disk based DBs simply can't keep up!)

    Second, IMDBs are used for a variety of DB workloads from transaction processing to analytic workloads.

    Third, if your queries are taking hours, you are doing analytic workloads, not transaction processing. Transaction processing is the DB workload most dependent on locking functionality and requires real time responses. Analytic workloads are the least dependent on locking performance.

    Fourth, many IMDBs are designed and deployed as the sole DB layer, including SAP HANA and TimesTen. Both fully support shadowing to disk.

    Fifth, you can run businesses on **SCALE UP** severs like UV2K. Unless you now want to claim you can run businesses on mainframes, Sun's large scale servers, Fujitsu's large scale servers, IBMs large scale servers, or HP's large scale servers.

    Sixth, if you think an UV2K is a cluster, you don't have enough knowledge to even post about this topic. UV2k is a SSI cache coherent SMP, no different than Oracle Sparc M6 or and IBM P795.

    Seventh, you don't need a direct channel between sockets. You have never needed a direct channel between sockets. In fact the system that put Sun on the map, UE10K, did not have direct connections between each socket. In fact MANY MANY large scale sun systems have not had direct connections between sockets. If you actually knew anything about the history of big servers you would know that direct connections can be slower, using switches can be slower, and using torii and hypercubes can be slower, or they all can be faster. Looking at an interconnection network topology doesn't tell you jack. What matters is latency and latency vs load.

    Eighth, people who fail at math should probably not try to make math based arguments. To directly connect N sockets, each socket needs N-1 links, no n^2 links. And you should probably learn something about how bandwidth and latency works. The more you directly connect, the less bandwidth you have between each node and the highly the latency hot spotting becomes. Using min channel widths isn't necessarily the best solution. And actually, you can have throughput and low latency, it just impacts cost.

    Ninth, ScaleMP has no relation to SGI's UV2k. None.

    10th, more business software runs on X86 than anything else in the world. More DBs run on x86 than anything else in the world. And neither ScaleMP nor UV2k are scale out solutions. UV2K is a pure scale-up system. You might know that if you only had a clue.

    1) There are 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, AND 256 processor **SCALE-UP** x86 systems. And the x86 Superdome delivers higher performance than any previous HP scale-up system. And no, you don't need socket counts, you need performance. Socket counts are quite immaterial, and shrinking by the by.

    2) SGI UV2K is not a scale out system. Its a SSI Scale Up system. When you finally admit this, you'll be one step closer to not riding the short bus.

    And fyi, plenty of people use x86 for large sap installations. In fact, x86 runs more sap installations than anyone else combined.

    Oh and: http://global.sap.com/solutions/benchmark/bweml-re...

    And just for fun, WE LAUGH AT YOUR PUNY ORACLE SAPS: http://global.sap.com/solutions/benchmark/sd3tier.... still under a million? You are being beaten by 8 socket servers, ouch that's gotta hurt!
    Reply
  • MyNuts - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Great, i guess. Wheres the holograms and teleporters. I see just another calculator :( Reply

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