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Alpha V's Itanium

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Kevin Raven (UK)
Frequent Advisor

Alpha V's Itanium

How are the latest Itanium offerings looking in comparision with the last Alpha offering ?

We are currently running ES45 EV6.

Options are to upgrade to EV7 (ES47) ...I remember these were somewhat faster than EV6
or look at the fastest Itanium offerings.

A rewrite of code for move to Itanium maybe ?
A rewrite to get the most out of EV7
Leave as is and move to EV7 Alpha.
Code is written in ada ...I'm told the old version we have cant be optimised for EV6 or EV7 ?

Dean McGorrill
Valued Contributor

Re: Alpha V's Itanium

Hi Kevin,
you can take a look yourself at


You can set up an account for free. I set one up and was pretty impressed with the
performance. not sure of the compilers available. What kind of application(s)?
Robert Gezelter
Honored Contributor

Re: Alpha V's Itanium


My standard answer is "depends". That said, I would expect that a performance gain is quite possible, if not probable.

The most common problem with performance is mis-aligned data, which is generally straightforward (if not always easy) to correct.

My standard recommendation (from the announcement of the Itanium transition) has been to get a small workstation (oops, server with graphics head) system and actually do the transition.

Then, one can talk scientific facts, not impressions. Mileage does vary depending upon one's code base. For example, I recently did an image translation of C-KERMIT and ran a benchmark comparing it to both native Itanium C-KERMIT and C-KERMIT running on an AlphaStation 200 4/233. The performance difference between the translated image and the native image was negligible (then again, most of the processing in C-KERMIT is in the lower levels which are all native).

Stay tuned, I will have something more public to say in a week or two. The basics are covered in my presentation from last years HP Enterprise Technology Symposium "Strategies for Migration from Alpha and VAX to HP Integity" (session notes at http://www.rlgsc.com/hptechnologyforum/2006/1504.html )

I hope that the above is helpful. If I have been unclear, please let me know.

- Bob Gezelter, http://www.rlgsc.com
Honored Contributor

Re: Alpha V's Itanium

In no particular order...

You're probably not going to get a big speed bump with an EV45 to ES47 upgrade; a 1 GHz EV68 EV45 is 15,100 TPS and a 1 GHz EV68 ES47 is 17,000 TPS. A 1.15 GHz EV7 ES47 is 20,000 TPS. But as with any benchmark, YMMV.

Most any Integrity will give you better speed. Lower license costs for most stuff, too -- as for iron, you have a new-old-stock or a used ES47, or a new Integrity.

There are some bootcamp presentations around performance and performance comparisons, though these documents are not widely available. There appear to be no low-end TPS or TPC-C listings available for the rx2660; what's posted at the tpc site is a generation or two back in the Integrity product line.

With Ada, you potentially have other options, including porting to another platform, such as HP-UX.

With OpenVMS I64 on Integrity, you're on Gnat Ada, and there may be (will be?) some effort to upgrade the existing source code.

EV7 is the EV6 core, with (much) faster interconnects. The interconnect speeds really shine on the larger configurations; for the boxes above the ES47. There's not a big difference between EV6 and EV7 in terms of code generation, though you might pick a little up from a compiler upgrade. (I'd tend to assume some boost in the compiler upgrade, but would tend to expect more of a boost from profiling and tuning the code.)

I've posted up some related topics at the web site, though not covering Ada code. Here's the porting OpenVMS code to OpenVMS I64 topic...

And somebody mentioned the test drive. Do sign up. Do try it. Benchmark some of your own code -- there's no generic answer, and this will help you get an answer tailored to your code.

Stephen Hoffman
HoffmanLabs LLC
Ian Miller.
Honored Contributor

Re: Alpha V's Itanium

Note the DEC ADA compiler is not available for OpenVMS I64. The ADA compiler for I64 is GNAT ADA from AdaCore (www.adacore.com). This implements the latest ADA language standard and the command interface is somewhat different to DEC ADA. Your build procedures would have to change. Your code many have to change to be compatible with the current ADA standard.

My colleagues who are working with the GNAT ADA compiler tell me its fine and AdaCore support is responsive.

The current midrange Itanium systems such as the rx3600 compare favourably in performance with ES47 but your mileage may vary.
Purely Personal Opinion
Kevin Raven (UK)
Frequent Advisor

Re: Alpha V's Itanium

Many thanks for the responses.
I have plenty to ponder over and take to the first of many kick off meetings.

We run a single in house written application. It's coded in Ada.

The application is not even multi threaded.
This is the next step.

We also run a very old version of Sybase (V11.0.3) ...yes I know very out of support ...but we have a deal with sybase for support.
We are looking at moving Sybase from OpenVMS to Solaris and the latest supported version of Sybase.

CPU hardware upgrades are just part of the many things we are looking into for quick perfomance gains or maybe not !

Hein van den Heuvel
Honored Contributor

Re: Alpha V's Itanium

>> We are looking at moving Sybase from OpenVMS to Solaris and the latest supported version of Sybase.

If you can go 3-tier, moving the DB to a different (Unix) box, then should you not also consider moving the DB to a different OpenVMS box? That could double the power right there and you could stage the improvement cycle:
- split 1 box to two, both Alpha's, Same OpenVMS.
Just data moves and re-defines. No convert or compiles needed.

- Upgrade Aplicaition box to Itanium if needed using new compiler.


Peter Zeiszler
Trusted Contributor

Re: Alpha V's Itanium

Another thing to consider is the maintenance. We are obtaining itaniums and part of the determination was the cost savings we are going to get with lower maintenance costs.
Occasional Visitor

Re: Alpha V's Itanium

What would you use for a Sybase client on Itanium Openvms ?
Tom O'Toole
Respected Contributor

Re: Alpha V's Itanium

You could use freetds, if it works for what you want to do.
Can you imagine if we used PCs to manage our enterprise systems? ... oops.
Andy Bustamante
Honored Contributor

Re: Alpha V's Itanium

Adding my two pence to Bob and Hoff's replies. The ES-45 and ES-47 will have similiar performance. In some cases, the ES-45 may provide better performance, particularly for a database application. "It depends."

Some questions to consider, do you have any performance metrics? Reviewing historical performance information can help you decide which path can be best. How does your application scale based on increasing number of CPUs?

You may also consider a an ES-80.

If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over? Reach me at first_name + "." + last_name at sysmanager net
Honored Contributor

Re: Alpha V's Itanium

As for Sybase clients, various ODBC and JDBC discussions are available in the OpenVMS FAQ. See http://www.hoffmanlabs.com/vmsfaq

As for local database packages, there are Ingres, MySQL and other such around. Mayhap ProgreSQL. Commercially, Oracle Rdb and Oracle classic, and likely others, are available. HP RTR is the HP product for connecting to remote databases, though I don't know off-hand if that's connected into Sybase.

Y'all might want to start a new thread here, as this one is somewhat buried, and this thread probably won't attract the notice of the folks most familiar with Sybase and with Sybase connectivity.

Stephen Hoffman
HoffmanLabs LLC