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From:Michael Conlen Date:June 24 2003 8:10pm
Subject:Re: Anyone had a chance to try an Opteron yet?
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64 bit servers have different performance characteristics and tend to be 
used for different things. than PC systems. They are generally 
backplanes to which are attached some number of processors and some 
amount of memory, and a lot of IO. They aren't used as much for 
processor speed (you could get a bunch of PCs to do that) as they are 
for doing a lot of IO. Even a small server like the old Sun e450's (4 
processors) had something like 6 or 8 PCI busses on them. Larger systems 
could be configured with a large number of IO cards for those computers 
that just need a few gigabit per second of network IO and a ton of disk 
space (multiple disk controllers, or FC controllers all going full speed).

You would use the memory to store temp information as a query would run 
and you rely on the systems fast access to the disks to scan through the 
tables. You would generally attach anywhere from a few hundred gigs of 
disk (spread out over many smaller disks) up to many terabytes (it's 
been a while since I've done large system admin work, so I have no idea 
what the largest systems are doing, but imagine 72" cabinets full of 72 
GB or larger disks). This way instead of getting speed from caching the 
data you get speed by reading the data off the disks quickly.

64 bit workstations had an advantage over PC systems most of the time in 
that the memory bus was not the bottleneck it can be on the PC avoiding 
delays due to cache misses, which made them great for visualization 
workstations where the system had to scan through a lot of memory 
quickly to generate an image or process scientific data.

There's a lot of other things going back to the fact that Digital, HP 
Sun and IBM have always had a head start on superscalar and multi-core 
CPU designs, so comparing Mz was never even close between two 
processors. On the other hand many people never saw that advantage 
because they would compile with gcc which was never the best choice for 
pure speed on a given processor.

If you need a 64 bit processor for memory and file size concerns and can 
sacrifice some of the processing speed (which often goes away because of 
the faster IO) there's always been a good used market, in particular for 
Sun equipment. I've seen some dirt cheap prices on fully loaded Sun E450 
systems which are very nice for their size. I think they hold 20 disks 
internally and there's PCI slots for a lot more if you need large files.

On the other hand I think "need 64 bit" and "affordable" are rare 
situations.

--
Michael Conlen

Mike Wexler wrote:

> Not necessarily. People that need relatively affordable 64 bit systems 
> may be waiting for the Opteron to stabilize. My experience is the 
> Wintel solutions (like Opteron) tend to have at least a 2-1 price 
> performance over Sun and Dec. Also, given that HP has basically 
> dropped Alpha, I don't think a lot of people are likely to be 
> implementing that platform.
>
>
> Dan Nelson wrote:
>
>> In the last episode (Jun 24), David Griffiths said:
>>  
>>
>>> I'm surprised there is not more interest in this; is it that not many
>>> work with large-ish (10+ gig) databases that need high-end
>>> performance?
>>>   
>>
>>
>> I think we have a mysql database running on Tru64, and I'm sure it runs
>> great on Solaris.  My guess is the people that needed over 2gb of RAM
>> have switched to 64-bit CPUs long ago.
>>
>>  
>>
>
>




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      • Re: Anyone had a chance to try an Opteron yet?Jeremy Zawodny24 Jun
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