I was getting caught up with my reading this weekend and was reminded of the John F Kennedy quote about a rising tide lifting all boats. Intel has once again done their magic and released their Xeon 5600 CPU (aka Westmere) sporting a couple of more cores, a larger L3 cache and some other neat tidbits. The newest Intel processor becomes a platform upon which we build some interesting things by layering on our own innovations. However, as I worked my through another article, I began to wonder if we were the only ones thinking that way. In this interesting InfoWorld article, Paul Venezia reviews three of the latest blade server offerings based on the Westmere processor (Cisco UCS was not one of the systems reviewed). The interesting thing was the at the end of the day, Paul concluded “[t]here is no significant difference in blade performance in similarly equipped blades from any of these vendors.” So, while it seems Intel has done their part, it also seems very little was added by the vendors in the test.
Paul continues that meaningful differentiation came down to features such as options, management, etc. As I mentioned, our UCS was not part of this test, Paul recently completed a thorough evaluation of the system, where he concluded that the UCS was “a more manageable, more scalable, and essentially superior blade server system.” So, all things being equal, I think UCS had a good chance at taking top honors in a direct comparison (the UCS out-scored the systems in the recent test, although I am not sure its appropriate to compare scores across articles). That being said..all things are not equal…we have some significant innovations to bring to the party beyond Intel’s efforts, including our extended memory technology and our FEX technology, which I think translate to meaningful and tangible benefits for our customers. As examples, we just released results on our latest app testing including a new record on the VMware VMmark (with a 42% improvement over the previous 2-socket record), and Oracle just announced a new record on the SPECjAppServer2004 benchmark, which measures application server performance.
For more information on how UCS has faired with benchmarking and real world testing, check out our UCS at Work site, which includes the results of application testing, the latest OS and hypervisor certifications, and management system integration.