A few weeks ago I went to a bike race. It really is amazing to see all of the exotic equipment used now. Bikes with no peddles, where you just snap your special shoes in. Extremely tight shorts with gel in all sorts of places. And special drinks and capsules and powders to keep you going.
One young man was different. He had a hybrid bike, flowing basketball shorts, and old sneakers. He was 17 and it was his first bike race. He did rather well in the end, considering. But, in this case, you certainly wouldn't want to compare his time with others.
Which reminded me of Oracle/Sun recently. Since IBM surpasses Oracle/Sun in performance per core in many contests, Oracle has been trying to shift the focus now to price performance. The problem is, that just like the bikers, sometimes specific price performance data is not something that really makes sense to compare.
You see in the TPC benchmarks that Oracle touts, they used flash storage. Which is great. But they compare this price performance to IBM benchmarks which were run prior to IBM using flash storage in their benchmarks. Which throws pricing comparisons out the window.
In fact, if you looked at the latest IBM TPC-C result in which flash storage was used and compare to an Oracle result in which flash storage was used, Oracle's price/performance is over 3 times more expensive than IBM.(1)
If the 17 year old ends up getting the equipment, he will surely be even more amazing.
(1)8-core IBM Power 780 (4.14 GHz, 2 chips, 32 threads) with IBM DB2 9.5 is the best 8-core system (1,200,011 tpmC, $.69/tpmC, configuration available 10/13/10) vs. 12-node Sun SPARC Enterprise T5440 Cluster (1.6GHz UltraSPARC T2 Plus, 4 processor) with Oracle 11g Enterprise Edition with Real Application Clusters and Partitioning, 7,646,486.7 tpmC, $2.36/tpmC, available 3/19/10.
Source: www.tpc.org; Results current as of 5/12/10.
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