OLTP benchmark::Oracle Charbench “Calling Circle” 

Operating System:              Windows 2008 Enterprise RTM (64 bit)
Software:                              Oracle 10g Release 2 (10.2) for 64 bit Windows
Benchmark software:        Swingbench/Charbench 2.2
Database Size:                      9 GB
Typical error margin:          2-2.5% 

Calling Circle is an Oracle OLTP benchmark. We test with a database size of 9 GB. To reduce the pressure on our storage system, we increased the SGA size (Oracle buffer in RAM) to 10 GB and the PGA size was set at 1.6 GB.  A calling circle tests consists of 83% selects, 7% inserts and 10% updates. The “calling circle” test is run for 10 minutes. A run is repeated 6 times and the results of the first run are discarded. The reason is that the disk queue length is sometimes close to 1, while the subsequent runs have a DQL (Disk Queue Length) of 0.2 or lower. In this case it was rather easy to run the CPUs at 99% load. Since DQLs were very similar, we could keep our results from the Nehalem article.

Oracle Calling Circle

We kept this benchmark setup the same over more than a year of the testing which allows us to offer some historical perspective. Unfortunately the benchmark starts to show its age too. Our disk setup still has a bit of – but not much – headroom, but the scaling is starting to show diminishing returns. If we want to test the full potential of these six-core Xeons and servers with even higher core counts, we will need to increase our database size and as a result the amount of memory we allocate to Oracle.

We expect the Dual Xeon X5670 to be able to do better than the 31% performance increase over a single CPU setup. We saw 100% load for most of the time, but very sharp drops of CPU utilization were also common. But that does not invalidate our results: it just shows that when throwing more and more cores at certain application, you will bump into limits sooner or later.  Even on those applications which naturally scale well, the number of scenarios where more cores help will decline.

The real power of the new X5670 is demonstrated by the single CPU results: the X5670 comes close to a dual Xeon X5570 and beats a dual Opteron 2435 by a considerable 38%. This despite the fact that BIOS upgrades and slightly faster memory have allowed the six-core Opteron to become 10% faster. One of the reasons why Intel is slapping the current AMD offerings silly is Hyperthreading, good for 35% performance increase in both the Xeon X5570 and single X5670 setups. 

Upgrading from an old top-of-the-line of its time Dual Xeon 5365 3.0 Server to a server with only one six-core delivers twice as much performance. Pretty impressive if you consider the former server is only 3 years old and used two 130W TDP CPUs.

Benchmark Configuration SAP Sales and Distribution 2-tier
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  • Wireloop - Saturday, March 27, 2010 - link

    After watching vApus' result for both Intel and AMD gear, the natural conclusion drawn is that Hyper-V is more optimized for the Opteron architecture than ESX since the latter achieves a lower Geometric Mean VM rate (on that platform).

    I guess it has something to do with maneuver of data into the L3 cache which is a critical condition for high multithreaded performance on the AMD platform. If so, my kudos to Microsoft.
  • mgbell - Friday, March 19, 2010 - link

    Hey Anand,
    I think you should do set up a test pitting the Xeon line against their perspective i7 counterparts and run some workstation type tests. I would be very interested in any testing that had to do with video encoding/rendering. I am a video editor and would love to see a side by side comparison with a xeon sytem of the same speed against a core i7 system. Also just for fun turn off the second processor or turn it on so we can see what kinds of rendering benefits a second processor with 4/6 cores (8/12 threads) would gain.

  • lemonadesoda - Sunday, March 21, 2010 - link

    I very much agree. It would be interesting to run a typical "enthusiast" or "workstation" application/benchmark just to see how it compares.

    I would like to see a Cinebench R10 comparison, a Everest PhotoWorxx, and a Fritz Chess Benchmark. Possibly a video encoding benchmark too.

    A lot of enthusiasts run dual Xeons as workstations... you cant predict what software they will be running, but the above 3 tests are good general comparatives.

    There are also servers providing other services like OCR or PDF generation. These Oracle database benchmarks are useful, but represent only one type of server/workstation use.
  • damianrobertjones - Thursday, March 18, 2010 - link

    I'm sitting here at the end of and ADSL line with a fresh WIndows XP machine, all updates, new Kaspersky install.

    While waiting for an app to install I've visited this page....

    Bang. Kaspersky popped up with a warning

    Trojan downloader.java.agent.aw from www.googleadsenstats.ru/useralexey/files/gsb50.jar/Appletx.class

    Do you have something against ie8 as this doesn't happen with Opera?

  • itsmeagain - Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - link

    Any chance you could throw a couple of these in a mac pro and give us a preview?
  • Shadowmaster625 - Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - link

    The E5503 looks like the most reasonable and appealing server processor for those of us that live in the real world. Yet there are no benchmarks...
  • Lukas - Thursday, March 18, 2010 - link

    The 550x CPUs are crap. They don't have HyperThreading or TurboBoost. The only reason they exist is for a cheap entry price tag. If you don't need a lot of CPU (e.G. unvirtualized LOB software), better go with a 34xx series Xeon. A lot cheaper than the 55xx series.
  • majortom1981 - Tuesday, March 23, 2010 - link

    they also exist for government and public service contracts . We got a z600 with 4 gig ram ,1 5504 xeon, and an 80 gig 10k rpm enterprise sata drive (also nvida gpu) for $700. For just $239 i can add another 5504 .
  • pvdw - Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - link

    How come only Windows servers are being used. What about RHEL with a Tomcat or JBOSS bench (surely such exists).
  • Lukas - Thursday, March 18, 2010 - link

    Probably because the benchmarkers are not familiar with those platforms? Doing benchmarks on a platform about which you don't know enough will not give you any usable results.

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