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Comment Re:bogus claims (Score 1) 158

What if Intel had continued boosting clock speed (within power and cooling constraints) and employed other improvements? IBM has done both, and I applaud that. It's important to them (and to many of their customers) that they keep working hard to improve the performance of each thread, and, golly, they keep pulling rabbits out of the hat.

Comment Re:cat TFA | sed -e 's/Flash Express/Cache Express (Score 1) 158

No, no typo. There's indeed Flash Express -- and yes, IBM's engineers have figured out a way to add yet another memory tier using (very high quality) flash memory. The processor can directly address it -- it's all mapped within the 64-bit virtual address space from what I've read. Yes, it's slower than DRAM but it's faster than storage-attached SSD (which at least has a longer distance to travel). Flash Express is great for things like paging, memory dumps, gigantic in-memory databases, and certain things that Java wants, so that's how operating systems and databases will use it. IBM even encrypts everything that lands on this memory-addressable flash, just in case someone tries to physically rip it out of the server. (Yes, they thought of that.)

Comment Re:bogus claims (Score 1) 158

Well, if so -- no idea, really -- then run UnixBench on an Intel Xeon. I see that IBM sells those, too, as it happens. Now how does UnixBench help me run my business better, more securely, more reliably, etc? I've never worked for a business (or government) that runs UnixBench to solve any real business problem(s).

Comment Re:Benchmarks? (Score 1) 158

Only test results? (Yes, 5.5 GHz is fast. A test -- or even a spec sheet -- will tell you that.) But aren't real world results more useful? Go visit any large bank's (for example) data center if they'll let you. How many transactions, how much batch, etc. (and concurrently) do they push through their (one or two) IBM mainframe(s)? And has it ever quit? Is it secure? Does it...work?

Comment Re:Do you believe in fairies too? (Score 2) 158

So you don't like my benchmark then and want another benchmark? OK. I chose a perfectly reasonable benchmark: number of servers (X) to deliver a particular real-world business outcome, where smaller X is better. A benchmark is simply a measurement to assess particular criteria (such as X) against a particular outcome (such as running a bank). I can agree that that an IBM zEnterprise EC12 server is not the answer to every IT problem. It is, however, the answer to many. And if you can't agree to that, then you simply have more to learn. (How exciting!)

Comment Re:CPU (Score 4, Interesting) 158

Yes, you could do that. Multiple images, actually. And that's basically what these servers do automatically. There are 4 levels of cache, main memory (which is RAID-protected actually, called RAIM -- only IBM does that), and there's another optional level of directly processor-addressable memory called Flash Express which is nonvolatile -- that's new, too. It works particularly well for fast paging, in-memory databases, memory dumps, etc. Then you go into fiber-attached and heavily cached solid state disk, fast disk, nearline disk, tape libraries. There are a lot of storage layers, and they're all very big.

Comment Re:Too bad TurboHercules collapsed (Score 1) 158

OK, now go license 64 cores of Oracle DB (for example) and get less performance than one core on a zEC12, as you say. I'll help you out: you'd probably pay about $1.5M in database software licensing plus $300K+ in annual maintenance for your 64 X86 cores versus $47K and $9.4K on a zEC12 core. And that's one cost factor among many, not the only one. So which server is "cheaper"? Is a bicycle cheaper than a truck? (Not an Olympic racing bicycle, probably.) It depends on what you're trying to do. Though I've noticed that the average Slashdot poster hasn't a freakin' clue about IT economics, sadly.

Comment Re:No the basic Core i& extreme will smoke it (Score 4, Informative) 158

OK, here's a benchmark. You're welcome to try running an entire large bank (for example) on one server -- your choice. OK, two servers: I'll allow you one additional for off-site disaster recovery of all development, test, and production workloads, including concurrent batch and online, for all the bank's security zones. Choose wisely, Grasshopper.

Comment Re:Memory performance? (Score 1) 158

Yes, everybody does that (out-of-order execution, pipelining, etc., etc.) And then...you still need to keep the CPU well fed to boost performance. Enormous 4-level caches help do that. Having a continuous 5.5 GHz clock speed is also quite helpful. So is having 101+ cores that can access the same cache rather than, say, 8 such cores. And at least a couple hundred (at least) other IBM performance tricks, many of which cost money to deliver and thus probably won't find their way into save-a-nickel parts of the market any time soon. It also very, very seriously helps when you design both hardware and software together, as the late great Steve Jobs (among others) reminded us all.

Comment Re:Except.... (Score 3, Interesting) 158

No, that's not a correct supposition -- quite the opposite, actually. All processors, including Intel X86, use microcode (or what IBM calls millicode) to a degree. IBM knows it well. After all, they invented microcode/millicode in the System/360 in 1965. But IBM uses microcode comparatively less nowadays than other processor architectures. The vast majority of zEC12 instructions are implemented entirely in hardware, including IEEE-754-2008 decimal floating point as an example. There's some really, really interesting new stuff in the instruction set, like the first transactional memory ("transaction execution facility") instructions in a commercial server, and some "feedback" instructions that can tell Java applications/the JVM how to dynamically tune itself in a live running environment. Very cutting edge -- so cutting edge I've got to crack open some engineering manuals to try to figure out what they've done, although they probably need to write those manuals.

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