Conor O'Mahony's Database Diary

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IBM DB2 Beats Oracle in the Race to Break 10 Million tpmC

with 2 comments

Remember the infamous advertisement from Oracle where they claimed they would be announcing a TPC-C benchmark result with XX million tpmC, hinting at a massive double digit TPC-C result. And then they ended up announcing a result with more than 7 million tpmC. At the time, a few people joked that they didn’t expect the first X in Oracle’s boast to be a zero. Well, last week IBM became the first vendor to break the 10 million tpmC barrier for the TPC-C benchmark.

The new benchmark result is impressive in many regards. It provides 35% greater throughput1 than the Oracle/Sun result. But this great leap forward in throughput is only part of the story. An equally important consideration is system efficiency, with the IBM result having only half the number of CPU cores when compared with the Oracle/Sun system. If you do the math, the IBM result gets 2.7 times more productivity per CPU core than the Oracle/Sun result. And because software is typically licensed by CPU core, that has the potential to add up to a lot of savings, both for initial purchase price and for ongoing maintenance costs.

But the aspect of this result that really astounded me was the price/performance metric. The IBM result achieved 41% lower cost per transaction than the best Oracle/Sun TPC-C performance result. And don’t forget the games that Oracle played in their price/performance metric. This means that IBM is 41% better even when Oracle resorts to these tactics!

You may recall that, when Oracle talked about their benchmark result, they boasted that their system needed less energy than IBM’s system. Of course, what they neglected to mention was that their system used Solid State Disk (SSD) technology and, at the time, IBM’s used only spinning disk. Well, now the IBM system also uses SSD technology. With this level playing field, the IBM system requires 35% less energy per transaction (Watts/tpmC) than published Oracle energy usage data2.

I’m sure that, like me, everyone in the DB2 community is delighted that DB2 has reclaimed its position at the top of the TPC-C benchmark in such an emphatic manner. It is further proof of DB2′s performance leadership. In fact, since 1 January 2003, DB2 has enjoyed more time leading the TPC-C, TPC-H 10TB, and SAP 3-Tier SD benchmarks than all other vendors combined.

TPC-C, TPC-H, and SAP Benchmark Leadership

1 IBM POWER7 TPC-C Result: IBM Power 780: 10,366,254 tpmC at $1.38USD/tpmC avail 2010/10/13, (24proc/192core/768thread) Oracle Sun TPC-C Result: Sun SPARC Enterprise T5440: 7,646,486 tpmC at $2.36USD/tpmC, avail 2010/03/19, (48proc/384core/3072thread). TPC-C results available at

2 Energy claims for either system are not related to official TPC-Energy results and should not be compared to TPC-Energy results. Energy comparisons are between IBM and Oracle/Sun system configurations referenced above. IBM POWER7 energy consumption = 65130 Watts, 0.006282 Watts/tpmC; Oracle/Sun system consumption = 73932 Watts, 0.009668 Watts/tpmC. IBM energy estimate based in IBM calculations using customer-available energy estimation tools for IBM servers, storage energy estimation reports available from IBM Techline services, and published component active power consumption specifications. Oracle energy estimate from Oracle-published results available at

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Written by Conor O'Mahony

August 23, 2010 at 4:05 pm

2 Responses

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  1. [...] a barrier some of us were waiting on for a while – the 10 million tpmC wall. Conor’s commentary is amusing and not overly snarky; IBM in general does not typically trumpet its leading status with [...]

  2. [...] IBM broke a barrier some of us were waiting on for a while – the 10 million tpmC wall. Conor’s commentary is amusing and not overly snarky; IBM in general does not typically trumpet its leading status with [...]

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