Choosing a platform for Domino 6: Hardware platform vendors

This article asks hardware vendors, What are the advantages of running Domino on your platform? Replies come from Sun, COMPAQ (now HP ProLiant servers), HP (HP-UX), IBM eServer pSeries, IBM eServer iSeries, IBM eServer zSeries, and IBM eServer xSeries.


Razeyah Stephen, Co-lead for the Domino Performance team, Iris Associates

Razeyah Stephen is the co-lead on the Domino Performance team. She has worked at Iris since 1998. She came to Lotus from Digital Equipment Corporation, now Compaq, where she worked for five years in their StorageWorks division.

Lori Davidson, Planning Manager, Lotus

Lori Davidson is a Senior Engineering Planning Manager for the Lotus Solutions Engineering Test team.

01 August 2002

Which platform should you choose to run Domino? It's a great question, and we decided to asked our platform teams and vendors to help answer it.

Hardware vendors are always a wealth of information because they know their hardware best and they have done in-depth work to optimize Domino for their platforms and the operating systems. Every year we feature the hardware vendors in the Performance Zone/TCO lab at Lotusphere. This year, we used the opportunity to ask them a question: "What are the advantages of running Domino on your platform?"

This month's column presents the responses from the hardware platform vendors along with useful links for more detailed information. The vendors include Sun, COMPAQ (now HP ProLiant servers), HP (HP-UX), IBM eServer pSeries, IBM eServer iSeries, IBM eServer zSeries, and IBM eServer xSeries. Next month, we'll round out the picture with the response from hardware storage vendors.

Before we start, note that we limited vendors to short answers with links to additional information. Also, we've published them in the order in which we received them. Please feel free to ask questions by submitting them as article feedback using the link at the end of this article. We will forward your questions to the vendors and send you their response. If there are specific topics you want to hear about, send us this feedback and we'll try to address it in a future column.

Advantages of running Domino on Sun Solaris servers

By Eric Sosman, Member of the Sun Technical Staff S/W

The single biggest reason to choose Sun servers for your Domino deployment is that they run the Solaris Operating Environment, the most scalable Lotus platform available in terms of the number of CPUs supported. Sun servers come in all sizes-from the miniature, rack-optimized, single-CPU Sun Fire V100 to the high-end Sun Fire 15K with up to 106 CPUs-so you can configure a system for your present needs and be confident of a wide-open growth path. All of these Sun systems are binary compatible and run the exact same Domino executable and the exact same Solaris software; so you need not migrate, port, or retrain as your enterprise expands. You can learn more about the full line of Sun servers on the servers page of the Sun Web site.

Not only are Sun solutions scalable and growable, they've also posted some impressive performance numbers. The audited benchmark results appear on Sun's Lotus page. They demonstrate the performance of the popular Sun Fire V880 server on the two of the NotesBench workloads. On the R5Mail workload, the V880 showed a lower price per user than any other non-Windows solution and greater capacity than any Windows machine. On the R5 iNotes Web Access workload, this same system holds the world record for the highest capacity and quickest response time. Benchmarks aren't everything, but results like these are compelling. More information appears on the Solaris page of the Lotus Web site.

Advantages of running Domino on HP ProLiant (formerly Compaq) servers

By John Hargreaves, Director Solutions Engineering - Messaging & Collaborative Applications

Whether you are deploying a single Domino server or consolidating your enterprise, ProLiant servers offer excellent price/performance solutions in the industry (based on NotesBench test results) for small, medium, or enterprise size businesses. Built on the industry standard Intel processor line, HP offers a broad range of end-to-end ProLiant server solutions to fit every business need-from the ProLiant ML330 G2, a 2-processor server that has enough power to support small to medium businesses, all the way up to the current performance leader in the Windows space, the ProLiant 8-way servers. HP servers, such as the ProLiant DL580, ProLiant ML530 G2, and ProLiant DL8500 servers, have achieved outstanding performance results and hold several Lotus Domino performance benchmark world records. Also, the ProLiant PL8500 is the only certified platform for Lotus Domino on Windows 2000 Datacenter. By utilizing the 4-node clustering technology built into Windows 2000 Datacenter, HP can offer customers high levels of scalability, availability, and reliability.

Hyper-Threading, a revolutionary chip design that enables one physical processor to function as two logical processors, is the latest technology innovation that HP has leveraged (from a performance perspective) for its ProLiant servers. The Intel Hyper-Threading technology is a form of simultaneous multithreading technology (SMT), where multiple threads of software applications can be run simultaneously on one processor. By allowing the processor to use on-chip resources that would otherwise have been idle, Hyper-Threading technology provides a performance boost on multithreading and multitasking operations. Users of Domino can expect to see up to a 20 percent increase in performance over similar systems that do not employ this technology. Couple this high performance server technology with HP Professional Services, and customers have a distinct advantage. You can find additional information about the HP ProLiant server line on the Compaq Lotus Solutions page and the HP Web site. Performance records appear on the NotesBench Consortium Web site.

Advantages of running Domino on HP-UX servers

By Greg Blotter, Technical Consultant, Enterprise Solutions Partners

As a UNIX leader, HP-UX is an established, scalable operating system that offers Domino enterprise customers a highly reliable, low cost, alternative messaging platform. Enterprise customers choosing to migrate to HP-UX, experience lower system maintenance costs through a consolidation of servers, the need for fewer administrators, and streamlined system management with industry-leading tools. Domino for HP-UX also provides sound investment protection. Customers who have deployed HP-UX hardware and software solutions can leverage this investment for Domino deployments.

Recent HP-UX 11i thread enhancements have significantly improved Domino on HP-UX performance. HP-UX as a Domino platform for enterprise customers also provides complete flexibility to organize your Domino infrastructure to meet specific needs for manageability, scalability, and distribution. For example, Domino instances can be consolidated on a single server using hardware partitions (nPars) or software partitions (vPars). Alternatively, Domino servers can be distributed across multiple systems and geographies using hyperplex connections and/or MC ServiceGuard high availability clusters. Additional information on our value-added HP-UX solutions can be found on the HP Unix Collaborating and messaging partners. You can also consult the Lotus Domino for HP-UX page.

Advantages of running Domino on IBM eServer pSeries servers

By Cameron Hildebran, IBM Global Services - Service Delivery Center West

The IBM eServer pSeries brand refers to the RS/6000 hardware platform running the AIX operating system. IBM eServer pSeries is a true 64-bit hardware and software platform that can leverage small or large applications to their fullest. The two main advantages of running Domino on IBM eServer pSeries are flexibility and scalability. These advantages stem from the range of offerings, from single processor, stand-alone or rack mount servers up to 32-way symmetric multiprocessor machines capable of logical partitioning. Logical partitioning allows a larger system to act as multiple smaller servers. The P690 for instance, can allocate any number of its possible 32 processors or portion of available memory, I/O or network slots for up to 16 logical partitions. This flexibility allows for multiple application uses from a single physical hardware server. For example a couple 8 CPU, 16 GB RAM Domino partitions; a 4 CPU, 12 GB RAM application partition; a single processor hub partition; and a test partition for new code releases can be carved out of this single physical server. This means a customer can accomplish individual goals while keeping involved applications separate from one another, yet have one physical location, which can reduce floor space and power consumption as well as allow a single point of administration for lower TCO (total cost of ownership). The new releases of AIX beginning with 5L also allow you to run Linux applications natively on AIX. The IBM eServer pSeries 680 holds the record for the R5Mail NotesBench workload with the largest number of users; see the results on the NotesBench Consortium Web site.

Descriptions of internal IBM deployments of Domino on AIX appear in the July 2001 and January 2002 versions of the "IBM RS/6000 Enterprise Server S80 and Domino R5 Server Loading Efforts" Redpaper. The first is an M80 machine and the second is an S80 server. The first deployment used some new technologies such as HMT (hardware multithreading, which allows one physical processor to appear as two logical ones to an application), and in the second deployment the hardware server supported 12,000 production Notes users over two Domino partitions. These papers also cover some other relevant topics such as SAN, clustering, partitioning, migration and consolidation.

Advantages of running Domino on IBM eServer zSeries

by Joe Bostian, Technical Lead for Performance and Scale, Domino for IBM eServer zSeries Development

The greatest advantage to running Domino on IBM eServer zSeries is the ability to scale large numbers of production mail and application users onto a smaller number of Domino partitions. This allows tighter, more centralized control of the enterprise and lowers the total cost of ownership in ways that are often overlooked. Centralized control, for instance, allows an administrator to maintain a smaller number of system images, or Logical Partitions (LPARs), and the Domino partitions associated with them, as a single system complex, or sysplex. One sysplex can scale to tens of thousands of users, depending on the number of processors and storage allocated to it. This makes procedures for things like backup and recovery more consistent and easier to manage, and allows the cost to be explicitly managed instead of spread over a large number of machines that may not have a consistent administration or cost management practice.

Production Domino servers on IBM eServer zSeries are currently scaled to more than 4,000 registered users per partition, and regularly support more that 2,300 connected users at once. On a typical day, a single large production Domino partition on IBM eServer zSeries completes 7 million transactions, and one IBM eServer zSeries machine is capable of running several of these as well as application database servers in a separate LPAR. All of the Domino partitions that participate in this sysplex talk to each other "within the box." TCP/IP on IBM eServer zSeries knows when two servers are on the same machine and routes traffic internally without using the LAN. This means that mail routing, cluster replication, and any other server-to-server communications stay off the network, freeing up bandwidth for client traffic. These kinds of scale characteristics, coupled with the reliability and security traits that are signatures of IBM eServer zSeries, make it the platform of choice for large-scale enterprise environments that need control and accountability. See the Lotus Domino for IBM Enterprise Servers page for more details about the advantages of IBM eServer zSeries in your Domino environment.

Advantages of running Domino on IBM eServer iSeries

by Dave Johnson, Advisory Software Engineer

Performance, scalability, consolidation, and manageability have made Domino on IBM eServer iSeries a huge success ever since its introduction. The recent announcements of OS/400 V5R2 and significantly enhanced system hardware makes the IBM eServer iSeries an even more compelling platform of choice for Domino. The new i890 servers with eighth generation, 64-bit POWER4 technology provide mainframe class, record-setting performance and scalability as demonstrated by recent iSeries NotesBench audits. IBM eServer iSeries achieved the first NotesBench audit of over 100,000 concurrent users and continues to hold the NotesBench record for the lowest average response time ever audited-67 milliseconds. Unique iSeries features that contribute to such performance include its storage management and disk subsystem architecture, Input/Output processor design, and aggregate bus switch speeds of up to 205 GB per second. Disk utilization is automatically optimized and balanced across all disk arms by the OS. Input/Output processors manage network interfaces and off-load main processors. The bus architecture makes it possible to move vast amounts of data and is designed for balanced performance in cooperation with the processor, memory, and disk rates. These and other components attest to the iSeries' heritage as a true application business system and its ability run the entire enterprise using the same architecture from a 1-way entry system to the new 32-way mainframe class server.

For enhanced manageability, the IBM eServer iSeries uses a Technology Independent Machine Interface (TIMI) that separates application code, such as Domino, from the kernel of the OS and the hardware. This isolates the OS from application failures so that you rarely need to restart the OS to fix an application problem. Domino is architected on OS/400 such that each Domino partition runs in its own subsystem, making it is easy to view and manage Domino tasks for each partition. Because OS/400 doesn't need to be restarted if Domino fails, IBM eServer iSeries invented the "watchdog" job to automatically restart Domino when needed. Using the system's Management Central feature, you can have administrators notified by pager when a process ends or a system message is issued. Such manageability makes consolidating multiple Domino partitions on a single IBM eServer iSeries footprint practical for reducing administration costs and advantageous for the performance of clustering, replication, and enterprise integration. The IBM Workload Estimator for iSeries lets you size an iSeries for a variety of uses including Notes clients, iNotes Web Access, Sametime, Domino.Doc, QuickPlace, and custom applications. Proper sizing analysis, which will often recommend one of the popular iSeries Dedicated Servers for Domino, will ensure the high level of performance that your environment requires. For more detailed information, see the iSeries Lotus Domino and Management Central pages.

Advantages of running Domino on IBM eServer xSeries

by Jeffrey Conley, Lotus Solution Manager, IBM eServer

The latest IBM xSeries Intel Xeon systems provide high availability and performance for Domino SMBs as well as demanding Domino enterprises. The x235 offers a pathway for future growth, providing power, performance, and enhanced system management features at an affordable price. The x255 offers impressive memory, internal storage, and I/O capacity so that you can expand quickly as workloads increase. It's an ideal multipurpose server for business-critical enterprise applications. It features the Intel Xeon processor MP with up to four processors available at speeds of 1.4, 1.5, or 1.6 GHz. It delivers outstanding headroom with up to 880 GB of internal storage capacity, and provides high performance and reliability thanks to up to 12 GB of PC1600 Double Data Rate Chipkill Memory. Increased system availability provided by Hot Spare Memory protects the server and data from memory failures.

The IBM BladeCenter solution is designed to be a simple-to-manage, flexible aggregation of servers, storage, and networking designed to meet demands for rapid deployment and modular growth. The x440 and the x360 allow customers to take a building-block approach when growing their systems over time, helping to meet CIO demands to invest today's IT dollars wisely. The x440 server for the datacenter with up to 16-way SMP power has XpandOnDemand, scalability "pay-as-you-grow" building-block design that allows customers to purchase only the performance capacity and I/O that they need, when they need it, without buying costly up-front infrastructure. IBM eServer xSeries has the lowest cost per user for Notes Mail and iNotes of any vendor or platform; see the NotesBench Consortium Web site. For more detailed information see the IBM eServer xSeries and Netfinity servers and xSeries Intel processor-based servers pages.

About the IBM eServers

The eServer solution consists of pSeries, zSeries, iSeries, and xSeries servers. All IBM eServers running Domino communicate transparently regardless of the series or operating system. IBM has the largest Domino installation in the world, running on eServers from all four series. To get more detailed information, visit the IBM eServer Solution Connection and the IBM eServer pages.


Thanks to all the vendors who graciously agreed to participate in this round up of information. You can get all the platform vendors' NotesBench published reports at the NotesBench Consortium Web site. And as you can see, you have the "ears of the vendors," so please use the article feedback form to tell us about your experiences. We're also very interested in your questions and requests for more detailed information.



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ArticleTitle=Choosing a platform for Domino 6: Hardware platform vendors