By PierreReynes on Jul 23, 2009
"Is Solaris better on AMD or Intel?" As a Technical Marketing guy working with the field and partners, I honestly cannot tell you how many times I was asked that question. The answer, as you most likely already know, is not a straight black or white type answer. Building the best performing solution depends on many components, from the processor architecture to the workload, including compilers and application optimization, type of I/O, network, storage, etc...
There are general rules of thumb, for example applications with a very high thread count and network I/O are likely to perform very well on Sun Chip Multithreading (CMT) Servers. However, as AMD and Intel architectures evolve, they become more and more similar in many respects (although the low level details and implementations are very different): NUMA architectures, multiple cores, 64-bit, integrated memory controller on cpu die, large cache, etc... therefore generic rules about which architecture performs better tend to turn into an infinite number of case by case benchmarks and proofs of concept.
Sun has been working for years with both Intel and AMD engineers to optimize the Solaris OS on both architectures. In order to help developers leverage these efforts, Sun has published BluePrints articles that provide technical details on how to take advantage of the optimizations for the latest generations of processors: AMD's Opteron 2400/8400 series (aka Istanbul) and Intel's Xeon 3500/5500 series (aka Nehalem-EP) . Although not a straight answer to my initial question, these documents provide developers and sysadmins the guidance they need to optimize the Solaris OS on the latest AMD and Intel processor generations.
So, which is best? How about you have the power of choice and decision. Whatever your choice is, Solaris not only supports it, it has been optimized to help you get the best out of it! Happy reading.
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