Join me in welcoming John McAbel, Senior Product Manager Microsoft Solutions for Cisco UCS as the author. We are pleased to bring you the first blog in our Application Modernization series in which we will be diving into the applications that we use every day, why they are important, and how to ensure they are performing at their highest level in order to help you achieve your business needs. Please note content has changed after the initial post- TPC has confirmed the results. Please visit TPC.org for further details.

Have you heard of the butterfly effect? It imagines the consequence when a butterfly flaps its wings and causes a major effect millions of miles away in the future. Now consider the impact of a larger event – a leading performance benchmark for Microsoft SQL Server 2019 TPC-H. Cisco UCS just achieved this result causing the competition to rethink their own testing strategy.

This result extends Cisco’s SQL Server TPC-H performance leadership from the 10TB result we posted back in April on SQL Server 2017 to this new 30TB result on the new SQL Server 2019. This is especially urgent to share as many SQL Server deployments are now taking the next step to modernize to newer versions as their older SQL Server licenses’ support expires.

Cisco’s C480 M5 30TB rack-based Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 based server delivered this great performance. Here are the numbers:

  • 1,278,277 TPC-H Composite Query-per-Hour Performance (QphH).
  • ~0.94 $/QphH


Close look at the numbers

Let’s unpack these numbers. According to the TPC Organization, TPC-H Composite Query-per-Hour is a decision support benchmark. It consists of a suite of business- oriented ad-hoc queries and concurrent data modifications. This benchmark illustrates decision support systems that examine large volumes of data, execute queries with a high degree of complexity, and give answers to critical business questions.

The take away from this definition- performance does matter. But it doesn’t mean an expensive system is needed to achieve these results- that is where the companion price performance metric tells the full story. Not only does Cisco’s solution deliver the fastest in queries, it offers the best in price to achieve this performance.

It should be noted that all participants in TPC benchmarks use the same Intel Xeon scalable 2nd generation processors and purchase memory from the same suppliers. The Cisco advantage is the performance different from the UCS C-Series and our close working relationship with Microsoft.



Chris Elford from Intel provided a nice perspective on these results.

The TPC*-H benchmark defines a range of scale factors that allow systems of all sizes to showcase their capabilities. Bringing larger scale factors to smaller systems is a large task which, when successful, results in a significant reduction in system cost and setting a new trend in price/performance. Cisco has achieved a major accomplishment by being the first in the industry to bring the 30TB scale factor to a 4-socket server.

They set a new bar for the industry to follow. Intel has worked with Microsoft to optimize TPC-H running with Microsoft* SQL Server on Intel(r) processor based platforms going back to before the year 2000. From tiny 100GB databases running on 4-8 socket platforms demonstrates the great strides that have been made that enabled Cisco to achieve today’s first ever 4-socket 30TB result on an Intel(r) processor based platform.

Chris Elford Principal Engineer, Intel.


Cisco HyperFlex Delivers too.

We do not rest with our UCS rack solutions. We tested Cisco HyperFlex SQL Server performance with the Enterprise Strategy Group and demonstrated that HyperFlex with All Flash drives delivers over 100% higher IOPS than other hyperconverged vendors with half the latency. Download the full report to see for yourself: Mission-critical Workload Performance Testing of Different Hyperconverged Approaches

We then tested our latest HyperFlex All NVMe solution and increased the IOPS by an additional 57% and lowered the latency by an additional 34%: Again, download the report to view the results: Mission-critical Hyperconverged Workload Performance Testing on Cisco HyperFlex All NVMe with Intel Optane DC SSD

We are now testing our latest Cisco HyperFlex solutions with All NVME and All Flash storage and memory for SQL Server 2019 deployments. Look for a new design guide with performance results early next year.

The butterfly effect theory suggests that bigger things can happen with just a slight trigger. With Cisco UCS solutions for SQL Server 2019, just imagine the impact for your SQL Server users.

For more information on Cisco’s solutions for Microsoft SQL Server, visit our webpage at https://www.cisco.com/go/msftsqlserver


Maggie Smith

Marketing Manager

Enterprise Solutions - Data Center Marketing