SAP Tests Prove i 7.1 Performance Boost Over i 6.1
April 26, 2010 Timothy Prickett Morgan
The new i For Business 7.1 operating system for Power Systems servers is not just about gussying up i 6.1.1 a little and slapping a new label on it, but making some real changes to the operating system to goose performance on a number of workloads. As The Four Hundred reported last week, IBM made a bunch of improvements in the DB2 for i database, and as it turns out IBM has put the new Power 750 server through some benchmark paces to show how the upgraded software can goose even a new machine.
While i 6.1.1 will technically run on Power7-based servers, i 7.1 was designed to more fully exploit its features. Just as i 7.1.1, which is due before the end of 2010 and most likely with entry and high-end machines around the August-September timeframe (as this newsletter revealed in February), will more fully exploit the Power7 iron, the kicker i 7.1.2 and i 7.1.3 will do even more when they come out in early and late 2011, respectively.
I already walked you through the SAP business intelligence benchmark tests IBM has run on Power6, Power6+, and Power7 machines using the Business Intelligence-Mixed Load, or BI-MXL, test. This is the third generation of SAP BI tests IBM has used to gauge the performance of data warehousing on iSeries and Power Systems machines. Those tests were run to show how much more oomph a modestly configured Power 750 had over older Power 520, 550, and 570 servers.
The most recent test was done specifically to show the performance jump for BI work that could come just through upgrading from i 6.1.1 to i 7.1. To demonstrate, IBM took a single-socket Power 750 with eight-cores and 32 threads, one-quarter of the capacity of the machine, and tossed in 128 GB of memory. On the BI-MXL test, that Power 750 was able to process 241,526 query navigation steps per hour against a database of 300 million records running i 6.1.1, its integrated DB2, and SAP’s NetWeaver 7.0 middleware. That machine ran at 99 percent CU utilization on the test. Last week, IBM said that it took the same exact machine and slapped on i 7.1 on it, and was able to process 278,462 query navigation steps per hour on the test. That’s a 15.3 percent increase in performance at no extra cost–beyond the hassle of upgrading to a new operating system, of course.