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Integrity vs Proliant -- reliability and ease of service?

 
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Integrity vs Proliant -- reliability and ease of service?

Good afternoon,

We have a Customer that is planning to install a 250-300 user database system. HP's sizing tool suggested a Prolaint 580, but the only questions it asked were the type of application and the number of users.

I'm trying to compare the Proliant 580 to the nearest equivalent Integrity on issues OTHER than performance issues (Mean Time Between Failures, Mean Time To Data Loss, Mean Time To Repair, etc.) but I'm finding little or no information comparing the two lines on anything other than strictly performance.

Can anyone help me out? Personal experiences, links to information, and suggestions to RTFM accepted (as long as you tell me which FM!)
11 REPLIES 11

Re: Integrity vs Proliant -- reliability and ease of service?

I should probably also note that we are planning to use an EVA4400 for storage, so space for drive bays and on-board storage controllers will probably not be part of the equation.

Re: Integrity vs Proliant -- reliability and ease of service?

Michael,

You won't find public MTBF or MTTR figures for either Proliant or Integrity servers. The reason is that it all depends on the actual configuration you have, so publishing a "typical" number is open to interpretation (usually by the competition).

If you were to pull out some of the advantages of Integrity over Proliant, they would be:

Dynamic Processor Resiliency - servers can detect some cases of failing CPU and take the CPU offline before the failure (HP-UX only I think)

Double-chip spare - RAID-like levels of protection for memory, without the overhead of extra memory.

Intel Cache-safe technology (disabling failed cache-lines in processors)

Enhancedd PCIe IO error recovery (failing PCIe cards can be isolated and prevent whole system for crashing)

If I were to sum all this up I'd say that a hardware error on an Integrity system is:

i) Less likely to result in a complete system failure.
ii) Crucially is more "diagnose-able" - i.e. it's generally possible to use the "Machine Check Abort" architecture in Itanium CPUs to gather enough data at the point of panic to diagnose what failed. I've seen x86 systems where intermittent hardware errors were only fixed by a "trial and error" approach to component replacement, due to a lack of meaningful data on the state of the system at the point of failure.

For more info/data, I'd suggest you contact a local HP or reseller rep.

HTH

Duncan

HTH

Duncan
TTr
Honored Contributor

Re: Integrity vs Proliant -- reliability and ease of service?

We have been using both hardware platforms for about 3 years now and as far as robustness and hardware failures go, they are identical. They are extremely robust and reliable. I can not recall any hardware failures.

As far as sizing is concerned I would look into the database, the application, existing environment, app vendor other installations etc to get some more feedback on sizing.

Re: Integrity vs Proliant -- reliability and ease of service?

TTr: Can you give me some idea how many of each you have in the field? What you said is interesting, but if I know how many servers you're talking about, it will give me a better idea of the statistical significance.
TTr
Honored Contributor

Re: Integrity vs Proliant -- reliability and ease of service?

We have more than 50 rx servers, with 6 rx8640 and many rx6600, 3600 and a few 2660s. The majority are oracle servers. For proliants we use exclusively 380s and 580s with a few 360s. The total would be over 250 DLs. We use about 30 580s for our VMware farms. The rest are fileservers, app/web servers and some SQL servers. We also have a decent blade chassis presence with BL460s for windows and BL860s for HP-UX. I would estimate over 150 blades.
Now for the HP sizing tool we used it for a large DB environment and it is heavily based on user requirements and number of transactions. It came back with recommendations for servers/storage half the size of our legacy enviornment. We ended up ordering upfront new hw wwhich was 4x our legacy and with room to double the cPUs mem etc.

Re: Integrity vs Proliant -- reliability and ease of service?

OK, one more question -- if the reliability and performance of the Proliant and Integrity servers are similar, why bother with the Integrity servers? Are you running HP/UX on them?
TTr
Honored Contributor

Re: Integrity vs Proliant -- reliability and ease of service?

That's right. Only HP-UX on integrity servers. and only windows (No Linux) on the Proliant ones.
Avinash20
Honored Contributor
Solution

Re: Integrity vs Proliant -- reliability and ease of service?

I have found one document which will surely help you with the post

ftp://ftp.compaq.com/pub/products/servers/software/microsoft/integrity-proliant-pos-brief.pdf
"Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak."

Re: Integrity vs Proliant -- reliability and ease of service?

Thanks! That looks useful.
damiri
Regular Advisor

Re: Integrity vs Proliant -- reliability and ease of service?

Hello, this is still only commercial talk. However, I have talked to some people and there are two stories:

- integrity has much better QC process before going out of factory
- proliant has almost same or better perfomanse for same size (CPU) servers

I don't know is this true or not. However, HP is selling this Integrity servers as business critical but I don't see clear difference between Proliant and Integrity in terms of support since you are anyway covering it with care packs.

My personal opinion that HP didn't expesct Intel to raise bar with these new Xeon processors but they were pushed with AMD Opteron which is still clear winner for database tasks because Hypertransport.

Again, everything comes down to price/performance and what actually IT manager believes in :-).

However, I would like to get your opinion for 2-4 to 2-8 processors comparation between two platforms since that's the place where most of our customers are ...
Jozef_Novak
Respected Contributor

Re: Integrity vs Proliant -- reliability and ease of service?

Hello,

I have attended some HP sales-oriented actions recently so I thought this could be a good place to post some of my notes.

Basically, marketing points that highlight Integrity servers are performance and fault resiliency. In terms of performance, HP states that there's no way how an x86 world can beat Itanium processor's EPIC architecture in performance, no matter how many Xeons or AMD devices are there and how fast they are.

I terms of fault resiliency, the features of the Integrity chipset that were described earlier in this thread, really provide better failure detection, correction and isolation means than what is available to the x86 systems.

From hardware standpoint, entry level servers are similar in both families. When it comes to high end, Itanium servers like rx76XX, 86XX and Superdomes provide much less SPOFs, for there is no counterpart in x86 family to this kind of machines.

Jozef