Get a Performance Jump on Sun Blade X6270

The newly announced Sun Blade X6270 server module integrates the new intelligent Intel Xeon processor 5500 series (code name Nehalem). The new Xeon processor delivers better performance by adapting to the workload - automatically increasing processor frequency and engaging hyper-threading when needed. It adapts to application behavior by scaling energy usage to the workload, and offering best in class virtualization.

This write-up looks at the performance of running IBM DB2 database on the Sun Blade X6270 with an OLTP workload that has been built in-house.

The workload is based on a customer benchmark and comprises a mix of light-weight and heavy-weight transactions. By using the same workload with different servers, it is possible to compare performance of different hardware in the OLTP space and understand the advantages and disadvantages that each server has to offer. 

The Sun Blade X6270 under test is built on 2 sockets of the Intel Xeon L5520 processor and the Solaris 10 10/08 Operating System. IBM DB2 UDB version is V9.5 FixPak 3.

The workload uses two machines setup with database tier and workload generating client. The DB2 UDB v9.5.3 database was installed on a Sun Blade X6270 with Solaris 10 10/08. The Sun StorageTek 2540 was configured with 12 disks for DB2 table space containers and log containers. Two LUNs were created. A file system was created on each LUN and mounted with “forcedirectio” option. The load generating client was deployed on an other X4100 with Solaris 10 10/08, which runs the workload driver to generate a database workload through IBM DB2 Universal Type 4 JDBC driver.

The Intel Xeon processor 5500 series provides Turbo mode and Hyper-Threading mode options in the BIOS setup. The Turbo mode enables automatically increasing processor frequency when the system has plenty head room for power consumption. The Hyper-Threading mode enables engaging hyper-threading when needed, so that each socket containing 4 cores can effectively scales 8 threads. The test results were generated with both modes enabled.

The Sun Blade X6270 server running DB2 achieved a peak of 254,218 transactions per minute with an average power consumption of only 194 watts (reported through the ILOM interface).

A summary of the result is as the follows:

Transactions Per Minute

254,218 tmpM

Average Power Consumption

194 Watts

Average Response Time

0.021 ms

So how good is the result above? Let's compare the DB2 performance on the Sun Blade X6270 with two other Intel Xeon-based servers to see how much performance gains we have on the Sun Blade X6270. The configurations of the three servers in comparison are:

  • Sun Blade X6270: 2 x Intel Xeon L5520@2.27 GHz, 24G RAM
  • Sun Fire X4450: 4 x Dual Core Intel Xeon E7220@2.93 GHz, 24G RAM
  • Sun Fire X4150 : 2 x Quad Core Xeon X5460@3.16GHz, 8G RAM

The same workload was run on all the three servers.

The following diagram illustrates the DB2 transaction throughput comparison on the three servers. The throughput on the X6270 is 2.5 times more than the X4450 and the X4150!




DB2 running Solaris 10 on the Sun Blade X6270 shows amazing performance benefit. DB2 can run 2.5 times more efficient with no code changes necessary on the Sun Blade X6270, compared to the other Xeon-based Sun Fire X4150 and X4450 servers. The Sun Blade X6270 server, with the optimizations from the new Intel Xeon processor 5500 series, and the innovation from Solaris 10 operating system, enable DB2 to achieve new levels of performance with increasing throughput, faster responsiveness, scalability and less heat and power consumption.

Want to read more applications proof points? My colleagues have done quite a bit of writing on the new Sun blade and servers based on the Intel Nehalem processors, please check out Sun Rise Over Nehalem.


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This is a blog to talk about technical information regarding running IBM DB2 database on Solaris.

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