Now, I don't want to talk about the actual relevance of the benchmark numbers, as I am not in the benchmark team. I want to talk about why these numbers and these efforts, unrelated to what they mean to your workload, matter to customers. The actual benchmark effort is a very big, long, expensive undertaking where many groups work together as a big virtual team. Having the virtual team be within a single company of course helps tremendously... We already start with a very big server setup with tons of storage, many disks, lots of ram, lots of cpu's, cores, threads, large database setups. Getting the whole setup going to start tuning, by itself, is no easy task, but then the real fun starts with tuning the system for optimal performance -and- stability. A benchmark is not just revving an engine at high rpm, it's actually hitting the circuit. The tests require long runs, require surviving availability tests, such as surviving crashes -and- recovery under load.
In the TPC-C example, the x4800 system had 4TB ram, 160 threads (8 sockets, hyperthreaded, 10 cores/socket), tons of storage attached, tons of luns visible to the OS. flash storage, non flash storage... many things at high scale that all have to be perfectly synchronized.
During this process, we find bugs, we fix bugs, we find performance issues, we fix performance issues, we find interesting potential features to investigate for the future, we start new development projects for future releases and all this goes back into the products. As more and more customers, for Oracle Linux, are running larger and larger, faster and faster, more mission critical, higher available databases..., these things are just absolutely critical. Unrelated to what anyone's specific opinion is about tpc-c or tpc-h or specjenterprise etc, there is a ton of effort that the customer benefits from. All this work makes Oracle Linux and/or Oracle Solaris better platforms. Whether it's faster, more stable, more scalable, more resilient. It helps.
Another point that I always like to re-iterate around UEK and UEK2 : we have our kernel source git repository online. Complete changelog of the mainline kernel, and our changes, easy to pull, easy to dissect, easy to know what went in when, why and where. No need to go log into a website and manually click through pages to hopefully discover changes or patches. No need to untar 2 tar balls and run a diff.