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Oracle Claims Bragging Rights Over Microsoft In Low-End Database

The company issued results of a TPC benchmark similar to one conducted by Microsoft on March 27.

Charles Babcock

June 11, 2007

3 Min Read

Oracle turned up the heat on Microsoft for the low end of the database market Tuesday by issuing the results of its recent Oracle 10g benchmark.

The database software company said it had achieved 100,926 transactions per minute at a price of 78 cents per 100 transactions in a test conducted on Hewlett-Packard's low end, Proliant ML 350 servers.

The benchmark was obviously geared along similar lines as one conducted by Microsoft on March 27, also on HP's Proliant servers, which achieved 82,774 transactions per minute at a price of 94 cents per 100 transactions, according to results published by the Transaction Processing Performance Council on its Web site.

Benchmark results have to be viewed warily, however. The TPC-C test may be set by the Transaction Processing Performance Council, an industry group formed to standardized benchmarks. But the details of the hardware on which a benchmark is run may be different. Not all the details of the two benchmarks could be compared head to head but Oracle indicated it had configured the maximum amount of cache memory on its benchmark server -- eight megabytes.

Unlike the usual Oracle TPC benchmarks, this one was conducted on hardware that would yield lower results than the best hardware available. But it was also among the lowest priced servers because Oracle this time was pursuing price-performance bragging rights.

It tested on HP's Proliant ML 350. The minimum configuration for small business server is priced at $1,669 with a single CPU, dual-core Intel Xeon processor. Oracle used a slightly higher level model, the single CPU, quad-core version for the TPC benchmark. The lowest priced version of such a machine on the HP Web site, not necessarily configured in the same manner as Oracle's test machine, is priced at $2,119, or a little more than a high-end laptop.

Oracle didn't state all the details of its benchmark machine in its announcement, but Juan Loaiza, senior VP of systems technology, indicated that it used to be difficult to test a feature rich database such as Oracle on low-end hardware because of its many lines of code. The Proliant now supports up to eight megabytes of cache memory, in which instructions and data are stored close to the CPU. That makes the Proliant more useful as a benchmarking machine.

"Before, it was like fitting Arnold Schwarzenegger into coach class. Now it's not such a tight squeeze," Loaiza said in an interview.

The Proliant hardware was essential to the benchmark because Oracle for the first time was seeking to best Microsoft's, not just on performance, but on price and performance. The TPC-C benchmark requires price and performance to be calculated for a system on the cost of each 100 transactions over a five-year period. The hardware, operating system, and database expense all enter into the equation.

With low-priced hardware running the Linux operating system, which is free, Oracle beat Microsoft's SQL Server in price and performance, based on Microsoft's most recently published TPC-C benchmark.

Loaiza said one reason Oracle is packaging its own version of "Unbreakable Linux" is that it wants to match Microsoft's ability to offer an operating system and database for standard x86 instruction set hardware, supported by one vendor. With its Oracle 10g/Linux/Proliant offering, it has a combination that can be compared with Windows/SQL Server/Proliant, he noted.

Microsoft officials weren't immediately available for comment.

About the Author(s)

Charles Babcock

Editor at Large, Cloud

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. He joined the publication in 2003.

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