It’s the middle of June, which means we’re smack in the middle of tradeshow and conference season for the IT industry. We were at Computex in Taipei two weeks ago, and this week we’re participating in International Supercomputing in Hamburg, and GigaOM’s Structure conference in San Francisco. In fact, our CEO, Barry Evans, is on a panel to discuss fabric technologies and their role in the evolution of datacenters. Should be a good one!
In spite of the hectic season, it hasn’t stopped us from moving forward with what everyone is really waiting for: benchmarks! Well, I’m happy to be able to share some preliminary results of both performance and power consumption for those of you looking for more efficient web servers.
For all your benchmark junkies out there, here are some of the details of our web server benchmark rig.
- Single Calxeda EnergyCore ECX-1000 @ 1.1 GHz
- 4 GB of DDR3L-1066 memory
- One 1Gb Ethernet network port
- One 250 GB SATA 7200rpm HDD
- Ubuntu Server v12.04 (3.2 kernel)
- Apache Server v2.4.2
- ApacheBench v2.3 (16k request size)
Power measurements were obtained at a 2-second sampling rate and averaged across the duration of the benchmark run. Power supply overhead and hard drive power consumption were not included in these measurements, however the entire SoC and DDR memory are included together.
Below are the results from our ApacheBench tests. The table illustrates both performance (requests per second) and energy consumption (Watts) along with an Intel Xeon-based platform for comparison.
There are a few details and interesting points I’d like to point out regarding the table above:
- At full 100% CPU utilization across all 4-cores, the EnergyCore server is able to handle ~5500 requests per second, while only consuming a little over 5 watts.
- The power consumed by the EnergyCore processor is actual measured power directly against real hardware. The Intel (Sandybridge) platform is based on published TDP values for the CPU and I/O chipset, along with an estimate for DDR memory. Unfortunately, at the time of this blog post, we didn’t have a way to measure actual power consumption with the same level of fine detail.
- Even if we were to reduce the Intel Xeon’s TDP numbers by 30%, the EnergyCore solution would still provide a significant performance per watt advantage (greater than 10X).
- The Sandybridge system saturated the single 1Gb NIC with less than 15% CPU utilization. (While it’s possible to add additional network adapters, most data center customers we’ve spoken with don’t add extra NICs for web servers for a variety of reasons.) This is a classic example of where Calxeda can deliver superior value: workloads for which “brawny cores” simply deliver more horsepower than can be consumed by the rest of the platform/infrastructure.
- We still have some fine tuning to do to bring down the power consumption. But the beautiful thing is we’re now only trying to squeeze out the last few hundred milli-Watts.
The Five Watt Web Server
By itself, the advantages and energy savings may not seem obvious and a bit hard to grasp. But if you start to look at larger, hyper-scale datacenters, you quickly realize the impact of this new technology. At our product launch last November, together with HP, we shook the industry up by estimating a 63% lower 3-year TCO for the Redstone platform. Based on our final performance and existing power measurements, I’m happy to report that we will easily meet those earlier projections. In fact, while still preliminary, our models now indicate that our TCO advantage improves to a 77% reduction of overall total cost of ownership – a significant value for any sized data center.
This is just the first of many benchmarks to come. We are actively looking at characterizing various additional workloads (like Cassandra, Hadoop, Memcached, and Graph500), and if these initial numbers are any indication of what’s to come, the industry is surely in for an fun ride!