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10/12/2009
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Oracle, Sun Claim Fastest Database

Oracle OpenWorld highlighted an Exadata database machine with flash memory that's become the transaction processing leader, the companies say.

Oracle and Sun Microsystems are claiming bragging rights to the world's fastest database machine. Its configuration included use of a new Sun flash storage device that could keep up to two TB of data in its equivalent of speed-of-light random access memory.

Oracle and Sun aired the results of their TPC-C benchmark Sunday, the opening day of the Oracle OpenWorld.

The f5100 flash array can perform 1.6 million read and 1.2 million write I/O operations per second, and is designed to accelerate Oracle and MySQL database workloads, according to Sun. With it, the Oracle/Sun Exabyte machine achieved 7.7 million TPC-C transactions a minute.

It was the first use of a flash storage device in a TPC benchmark. Flash memory functions much like the server's random access memory and at much higher speeds than calling data from disks. The use of flash in the benchmark makes it hard to compare the Oracle/Sun database system to other database machines. The IBM benchmark cited by Oracle reached 6 million transactions a minute.

The timing of the announcement was chosen by Sun. Oracle has already paid for the timing of the announcement.

It wanted to say Oracle 11g running on Sun hardware was faster than IBM's DB2 on Power hardware a month ago, and it went ahead and did so Aug. 27 and Sept. 3, citing IBM's best TPC-benchmark in a front page ad in the Wall Street Journal and later a back cover ad in the Economist. It stated it would publish "proof" in the form of its own TPC-C benchmark Oct. 14.

That earned it a wrap on the knuckles and a $10,000 fine. The Transaction Processing Council voted by a two-thirds majority that comparing an existing TPC-C benchmark to a non-existent one was contrary to the group's rules.

Oracle is trying to defend Sun's UltraSparc hardware turf as it acquires the company in a deal announced last April. The U.S. Department of Justice approved it Aug. 20, but the European Commission announced Sept. 3 it was conducting an ongoing investigation in the possible anti-competitive aspects of Oracle owning the MySQL open source database system.


InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on Sun's future under Oracle. Download the report here (registration required).

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