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Oracle DBA: Oracle 10g & Itanium

Intel vs. “Big Iron” RISC based systems

64-bit has been around for many years.  However if your application or database demanded 64-bit power, it meant going with the “big-iron” model such as a Sun server.  The big-iron server model was one with a rigid software environment, expensive component redundancy and one large partitioned server.  There are many database customers who could run on a two or four-way Intel box as opposed to one of the extremely expensive monolithic RISC servers.  Intel changed the game by introducing its IA64 processor architecture.  The Intel Itanium2 processor is uniquely designed for demanding, data-intensive applications.  It’s perfect for large databases, business intelligence, enterprise resource planning and high-performance computing.  With Itaniums generous set of registers, substantial address space and, as mentioned, its parallel features, it is able to deliver exceptional response times to these demanding types of applications.

 Intel and Oracle provide for easier management of systems compared to RISC based servers.  Oracle grid on Intel is relatively easy to install and configure requiring lower up-front costs because they are offered by many vendors.  They also provide the ability to scale-out rather than scaling-up. 

 Intel processor based servers clustered with Oracle grid technology deliver exceptional price to performance over non-clustered RISC based systems.  With the Intel solution you gain the benefits of a standards-based computing platform.  The Itanium2 brings economies of scale to provide outstanding price/performance at a much lower cost when compared to RISC-based systems.

A recent TPC benchmark illustrates this point.  Oracle TPC-C benchmark on a 4-processor systems running Linux achieved a price/performance ratio of $5.30 per tpmC.  To achieve essentially the same performance on a 4-processor systems running HP-UX cost $13.26 per tpmC.  This is a 250% price difference.  It’s been reported that you will see a threefold performance improvement with Itanium2 over RISC. 

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