Platform decision

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# 1  
Old 10-31-2002
Platform decision

Hi folks

First, let me apologize in advance for the long message. I know this will sound like a typical "newbie" message but I am really working to understand the technology in order to make informed decisions.

I am currently in the process of evaluating Unix hardware and OS platforms for an upcoming Oracle implementation. This will be a very large scale project requiring extensive vendor support.

We are an Intel shop presently so, unfortunately, I'm not very well versed in the pros and cons of the Unix world.

I've narrowed the choices down to IBM pSeries and Sun due to hardware and OS integration, single vendor support, market share and compatibility with our space requirements.

Both vendors appear to have strong product offerings and solid operating systems. What I want to do is take price off the table and evaluate the technical side of things. That being said, I can't find any unbiased evaluations of either platform or direct comparisons between them.

I'm looking at the lower end Enterprise level offerings from each vendor.

Anyone have any good sources of information that will break through the marketing hype and help me determine the best platform to build a large data warehouse on? Opinions and experiences (good and bad) are welcome as well.

Comments on LPAR vs Domaining?

Finally, I've heard that Oracle Enterprise licensing differs between IBM and Sun (with IBM being cheaper for some reason). Any ideas?

Thanks in advance for any info.
# 2  
Old 10-31-2002
Just to let you know, I am a SUN admin. I worked on an AIX server for about 6 months. So my opinion will be biased.

But not in the way you would think. The one thing I thought about while reading your post was that IBM HAS a volume manager software solution with the OS. SUN has one that is not very good with databases and an additional cost for Veritas will be needed to add into the mix.

SUN makes a great product. So does IBM. IBM has a GUI interface for admins that is very good. SUN does not have anything close to it.

Nothing else I can think of off-hand. And I doubt you can get pass the sales hype. Even if someone put something out there saying they tested one against the other, whoever lost would make valid complaints about the test. Any of the big companies put out good to great products/servers.
# 3  
Old 10-31-2002
Consider HPUX...

I am curious what you thought of HPUX. It is very comparible to SUN and has full range of support and wide variety of H/W for many size needs, from small shops to Fortune 500 enterprise systems.

I have been a DEC admin as well as my current job working with HPUX. I must say that I am very pleased with the reliability of the hardware. I sit near several SUN Admins that tell me they have had problems with hardware, but that could be anecdotal and limited to our shop.

If I had to pick one between SUN and IBM I would say IBM. Only based on reputation here at my work.

# 4  
Old 10-31-2002
I'm surprised you didn't try to talk him into buying a true cluster - VMS or Alpha! (I started on VMS) - I've yet to see a cluster match up to those.
# 5  
Old 11-01-2002
Thanks for the info!

I appreciate that the conversation hasn't degraded into a mud-slinging battle of which version is better. Makes it easier to put some weight to the opinions presented.

Regarding HPUX/HP hardware, I did look at it and currently, it appears very solid. My big concern is the imminent (?) change over from PA-RISC to IA64. I wouldn't want our development group to have to re-engineer the platform shortly after implementation if we decide to scale up.

It's been a definite struggle trying to get real answers to the performance and stability questions on each platform. From what I can tell so far:

- IBM Power4 based systems perform significantly better than equally equipped Sun UltraSparc III systems.

- Sun UltraSparc III based systems perform better than equally equipped IBM RS64 IV systems.

- IBM fault correction appears to be better

- Sun electrically isolates partitions from each other so a fault in one can't impact any others (Enterprise level systems)

- IBM partitioning is much more granular going to the level of 1 CPU/256MB RAM regardless of its physical location.

- Both vendors like to compare their Jaguars to the others Hyundai's and gloat about performance and features

- Sun potentially has fairly widespread memory board failure issues that I can't tell whether are resolved or not yet.

Basically, to sum it up in a word... Idunno??!?

I'm working the angle of Oracle performance and support now to see if I get any further ahead.

# 6  
Old 11-02-2002
HPUX PA-RISC here to stay for a while.

You are correct that they are developing the Itanium chipset. However, they will still maintain the PA RISC for the Cell-based systems: Superdome, Keystone(RP8400) and the Matterhorn(RP74xx). The PA Risc will be around for a good while.

The Cell-based systems are fairly new, only 1 1/2 years old, and will eventually migrate to be able to handle BOTH the Itanium chips and the PA-RISC chips on the same partitioned system. I am not sure if you can have diff chips on the same partition. That may be the only restriction.

Don't worry about compatiblity or obsolesence. I have seen the future and it is rosy. Smilie

Also, Don't forget about Blade servers. These are the next evolution of partitioned systems, but with more horse-power! Smilie And a smaller foot print. You could get 40 per row and 5 high in one 3' sq cabinet.

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