Unisys, HP trim enterprise server costs, boost performance

Both Unisys and Hewlett-Packard have announced price and performance improvements on their high-end server offerings.

Unisys claims the recent price/performance results of its e-@ction Enterprise Server ES7000, "deflate Unix claims of performance superiority".

The ES7000, with a test configuration including Windows Datacenter Server Limited Edition, SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition and Intel Pentium III Xeon processors, hit the 165,218.71 transactions per minute (tpmC) mark in recent TPC-C testing, Unisys officials said. This new architecture has also markedly improved price per transaction performance, sending it spiralling down to $US21.33 per transaction.

However, Unisys' claims that its ES7000 offering contests Unix claims of performance superiority may be a little off track, especially considering HP's similar price/performance improvements on its Superdome server.

HP's high-end Unix Superdome server has also ramped up its tpmC result to 389,434, more than doubling the performance of the ES7000, and increasing Superdome's previous result by 98 per cent. The latest TPC-C result was achieved on a 64-way PA-8700 Superdome running Oracle9i Database.

The performance ramp-up also coincides with price reductions of up to 30 per cent, allowing Superdome price comparisons to also fare well against the ES7000, landing around the $US21.24 per transaction mark.

According to Ian Birks, chief operating officer at Ideas International, the Unisys announcement is good news for the wider Wintel server community.

"It demonstrates quite clearly that high-end Intel/Windows server solutions can now scale to true enterprise class levels of performance. This is significant because in the past this has been the exclusive domain of Unix-based systems and traditional mainframes," he said.

According to Birks, while the new price/performance figures might put the ES7000 in the same ballpark as equivalent Unix solutions, that's about all that it does at this stage. However, he does envisage more of a challenge when Itanium technology is incorporated into the ES7000 offering.

"An interesting future development will be to see how the performance increase using Intel's Itanium performance technology will boost the ES7000 performance capability," he said. "It may well significantly improve their performance relative to Unix solutions at that time."

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