Price Performance: OpenPOWER vs Xeon

In a world where Moore’s Law has held true for longer than expected, there is an argument in some Enterprise technology circles that price-performance is becoming increasingly irrelevant. The thinking goes that price-performance across hardware platforms is almost a zero sum game and is almost irrelevant in TCO calculations because all hardware platforms are comparable.

While that sentiment holds some truth, in a world of Big Data and ever tightening budgets, extracting the as much performance from each dollar spent is still important. To that end IBM’s OpenPOWER initiative is an important one. Not only has IBM moved it’s POWER architecture to an open source environment, according to the SPEC CPU2006 Benchmark, POWER based hardware platforms significantly outperform Xeon platforms on a per dollar spent basis. Xeon processors require more cores to match Power processing performance.

This also has an impact on TCO: core based software licensing is cheaper

Software that is licensed on a per core basis is obviously more cost effective on fewer cores. So Oracle, WAS and DB2 licensing becomes more cost effective on POWER without a performance hit.

The Financial Technology industry has taken notice of OpenPOWER

At the STAC Summit this year in London, one of the biggest topics on the agenda was Big Data. STAC develops technology benchmarks for the financial industry to help make considered decisions across technology purchases. Unsurprisingly Big Data is a hot topic in the financial industry because data is something financial companies have no shortage of. Shaving even milliseconds off processing times on compute loads across data analysis in finance can provide priceless competitive advantage, so processing efficiency is something financial companies take very seriously.

STAC found that IBM’s POWER8 hardware delivered more than 2x the level of performance of the best x86 server when running financial industry workloads.

These results still matter. Gone are the days of waiting weeks, days or even hours for reports. Price Performance isn’t dead by any means, and in a world where delivering insights rapidly to drive decisions has a bottom line impact, IBM OpenPOWER is worth considering.