Everybody wants more performance and, more importantly, improved price/performance from each new product announcement. Just last week, IBM announced a new set of POWER7 technology-based Power Systems servers targeting the lower end of the product line. IBM also announced targeted Solution Editions, which offer even better price points for customers running applications from some of the largest application partners including SAP, Lawson and Oracle.
Customers using these applications want to know what these announcements mean to them. This article will cover some of the work IBM does to support these major applications and what the new announcements provide in real performance.
The new Power 720 Express and Power 740 Express provide substantial performance improvements over their POWER6 technology-based predecessors. With maximum CPW ratings of 46,300 and 97,700 respectively, they offer great performance at very competitive prices. This performance is also reflected in ERP application performance.
Since 1994, a dedicated team of people in IBM i development have worked closely with our largest ISV partners to ensure that new operating system releases are fully tested and supported, applications and the operating system are well optimized for each other, and customers have information they need on fixes and tuning. This team can also be a great resource when problems occur as they know the applications and can expedite teamwork between IBM and the ISV. Many members of this team are also available for technical consulting. As part of the Solution Edition announce, this team conducted performance evaluations on the three major applications they support.
Oracle's JD Edwards EnterpriseOne
IBM and the Oracle JD Edwards World and EnterpriseOne products have a very long-standing and vital partnership, which started all the way back with the World product running on the S/38 in 1977. Both products continue to be very dynamic in terms of shipping new releases and continuously adding enhancements.
To help facilitate their work with platform vendors like IBM, Oracle provides a workload kit called "Day in the Life" which can be used to assess the capabilities of new software and hardware. This kit drives a realistic set of customer transactions including both Web-client based workload and the Universal Batch Engine (UBE) reporting. It integrates Vertex and Verity use and provides configuration options to exercise functionality such as Advanced Pricing and Advanced Transportation. In addition to using it for performance, IBM also uses it to validate functionality such as independent ASP-based high-availability support.
The IBM i Solution Edition for JD Edwards is an infrastructure solution specifically designed, configured and priced to reduce the cost, complexity and risk of deploying JD Edwards world-class solutions on IBM i. It provides a complete hardware and software solution, is quick and easy to implement, and provides powerful POWER7 processor-based technology at a lower cost than competing solutions. Many configuration options are possible but IBM has provided some sample configuration options that target 50, 150 and 500 users.
To align with those configurations and demonstrate the scalability of POWER7 technology, IBM conducted benchmarks on a Power 720 Express (3.0 GHz) configuration with one, two, and four core configurations. The actual system may have more processors available but this is a reference to the number of processors licensed for IBM i. Like most of the benchmark results, they use the "All on i" configuration in which all three components of JD Edwards EnterpriseOne are run in the same partition of IBM i. These components are the Database, Enterprise and HTML servers. The tests used WebSphere Express 126.96.36.199. Oracle supports both the Network Deployment and Express versions of WebSphere with the latter just being added this year.
Figure 1 shows the results of those tests. The one, two, and four core configurations were able to support 300, 600 and 1200 users respectively all at nominal processor utilizations and subsecond response times. These results show great performance and near linear scaling, and demonstrate the functionality of WebSphere Express. As with any benchmark result, actual results will vary and IBM recommends following an appropriate sizing process for any specific environment.
For additional information on these performance results, refer to the JDE on IBM i website. In addition to the latest news for World and EnterpriseOne on IBM i, this site provides one-stop shopping for benchmarks, tuning, recommended fixes and more.
Lawson M3 Application
Lawson M3, formally known as Intentia, and IBM development teams have worked cooperatively for well over a decade optimizing the Lawson M3 solution on IBM i. Cooperative development has enabled Lawson M3 solutions on IBM i to take advantage of the latest performance and functional features of new releases as soon as they are available. Examples include the IBM Technology for Java and PowerHA on i. Both of these technologies can provide significant benefit to the end customer.
The IBM i Solution Edition for Lawson is an infrastructure solution specifically designed, configured and priced to reduce the cost, complexity and risk of deploying Lawson M3 solutions on IBM i. It provides a complete hardware and software solution. In addition, it provides powerful POWER7 processor-based technology at a lower cost than competing solutions.
To align with offering, IBM conducted benchmark tests on a POWER7 740 Express (3.7 GHz) configuration with a two-core configuration. The results were then compared those from a POWER6 520 (4.7 GHZ) with a two-core configuration. The actual system may have more processors available but this is a reference to the number of processors licensed for IBM i.
The tests were done using the Lawson M3 Order Entry Benchmark kit, which uses a load-generation tool to simulate several virtual users entering orders at a reasonable rate. The Order Entry transaction, OIS100, was used for these tests. The key throughput metric is the number of invoiced order lines per hour. The Lawson M3 benchmark environment consists of the Lawson M3 Business Engine, M3 Workplace application, WebSphere Application Server V7 ND and the IBM HTTP Server—all set up and running on the same single system.
Figure 2 shows the results of the tests. The POWER7 technology-based 740 Express was able perform 282,518 invoiced order lines per hour. The POWER6 520 performed 205,482 invoiced order lines per hour. All tests had subsecond response times and were done at a high CPU utilization. These results show a 37 percent improvement in runtime performance with the POWER7 740. As with any benchmark result, actual results will vary and IBM recommends following an appropriate sizing process for any specific environment.
For additional information on these performance results, please refer to the Lawson M3 on IBM POWER 740 whitepaper on the IBM Tech Docs website.
SAP NetWeaver Applications
The SAP and IBM development teams have worked cooperatively together since 1994 to bring the first SAP solution to market on IBM i in 1996 and thereafter to provide a solution that leverages the advantages of IBM i: architected integration of system components, simple system administration, low total cost of ownership and competitive hardware components. Critical to the success of SAP offerings on IBM i is the integrated database, DB2 for i. Cooperative development has enabled SAP solutions on IBM i to take advantage of unique performance and functional features of DB2 for i. Likewise, DB2 for i has continually delivered enhancements to satisfy requirements and improve performance specifically for SAP products. Many of these product specific enhancements have the extra benefit of improving other solutions and database performance in general.
The IBM i Solution Edition for SAP is an infrastructure solution specifically designed, configured and priced to reduce the cost, complexity and risk of deploying SAP solutions on IBM i. It provides a complete hardware and software solution on the powerful POWER7 processor-based technology at a lower cost than competing solutions.
The announcement of the Power 740 Express delivers another record-setting result on IBM i for the SAP Business Intelligence Mixed Load (BI-MXL) Standard Application Benchmark. This benchmark scenario simulates user query activity while updating the data in parallel. The key figure of this benchmark is the number of query navigation steps per hour, a measurement of overall throughput. IBM i was able to run 90,635 query navigation steps per hour (1) on a POWER6 550 with four cores and IBM i 6.1. Figure 3 shows the latest result, achieved with the POWER7 processor-based Power 740 Express and IBM i 7.1 and hitting 151,426 query navigation steps per hour also on four cores. That's a 67 percent improvement from POWER6 to POWER7 with the same number of cores!
Robust and Scalable
These results highlight the robust performance and scalability of the POWER7 technology-based Solution Edition servers, and offer a compelling reason to investigate if a Solution Edition is right for you. For more information, visit the IBM i Solution Edition website.
Results for the IBM Power 550 on the two-tier SAP BI-MXL Standard Application Benchmark (certification number 2009011) was 90,635 query navigation steps/hour. The IBM Power 550 was configured with 2 processors/4 cores/8 threads, POWER6 5.0 GHz and 64 GB main memory running IBM i 6.1, DB2 for i 6.1 and SAP NetWeaver 7.0 (Unicode).
Results for the IBM Power 740 Express on the two-tier SAP BI-MXL Standard Application Benchmark was 151,426 query navigation steps/hour. The IBM Power 740 Express was configured with 1 processors/4 cores/16 threads, POWER7 3.30 GHz and 64 GB main memory running IBM i 7.1, DB2 for i 7.1 and SAP NetWeaver 7.0 (Unicode). The SAP certification number was not available at press time and can be found at the SAP Web page.