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Oracle Produces Audited Benchmark of Oracle9i Cluster

Oracle reached a key milestone this week with its Oracle9i database by producing an audited benchmark of its Oracle9i Real Application Clusters on Windows servers.

Real Application Clusters are a new name and modified architecture for what was previously referred to as Oracle Parallel Server. RAC/OPS represents a way to spread a database load across several servers for scalability and availability. The approach is sometimes referred to as scale-out.

At the Oracle9i database launch in June 2001, Larry Ellison claimed RAC would provide unlimited scalability and simultaneously afford higher availability. He predicted that as many as two-thirds of Oracle customers would adopt the technique. Up until this month, Oracle had not produced audited benchmarks to demonstrate that the technology worked.

The Oracle benchmark was done in combination with Hewlett-Packard on Proliant servers, formerly the Compaq line of Intel-based servers. The companies chose the Transaction Processing Performance Council's key OLTP benchmark, the TPC-C, to highlight a RAC cluster.

Typical of a first result on a new technology, performance was unremarkable. Oracle's announcement claimed a record-setting result within narrow parameters. In fact, the system ranked seventh among all clustered systems tested on the TPC-C, and the raw performance was not up to the level of the current best single-server SMP result for a Windows-based, 32-processor server from Unisys.

Oracle and HP used eight Proliant servers with four processors each as the back end of a $2.6 million configuration that achieved 137,261 transactions per minute on the TPC-C benchmark (tpmC) at a cost of $19.25/tpmC. Oracle chose to compare the result against a 14-month-old IBM eServer xSeries system running Microsoft SQL Server because it is the only other clustered system using 32 processors on the current list.

The Oracle-HP effort achieved less than a 1 percent improvement over the IBM system at a cost 14 percent higher per transaction than the IBM-Microsoft configuration. The top clustered result is an HP Proliant-SQL Server cluster at more than 700,000 tpmC. The best Windows 2000-based non-clustered system is a $3.5 million Unisys configuration that achieved 165,000 tpmC.

Oracle officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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