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SPEC Releases Power-Performance Benchmark for Servers

The Standard Performance Evaluation Corp. (SPEC) has released SPECpower_ssj2008, the first industry-standard benchmark that measures power consumption in relation to performance for server-class computers.

SPEC has designed SPECpower_ssj2008 to be used as both a benchmark to compare power and performance among different servers and as a toolset to improve server efficiency.

"The power efficiency of servers has become a high-priority issue for the IT industry, computer manufacturers, and governments," says Klaus-Dieter Lange, chair of the SPECpower committee. "SPEC is taking its proven methodologies for ensuring consistent, fair and repeatable performance measurement and applying them to power consumption."

SPEC member companies active in developing the new power-performance measurement standard include AMD, Dell, Fujitsu Siemens Computers, HP, Intel, IBM, and Sun Microsystems. Associate members participating in the effort include University of California - Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

SPECpower_ssj2008 reports power consumption for servers at different performance levels from 100-percent to idle in 10-percent segments over a set period of time. The graduated workload recognizes the fact that processing loads and power consumption on servers vary substantially over the course of days or weeks. To compute a power-performance metric across all levels, measured transaction throughputs for each segment are added together, then divided by the sum of the average power consumed for each segment. The result is a figure of merit called "overall ssj_ops/watt."

The benchmark workload represents typical server-side Java business applications. The workload is scalable, multi-threaded, portable across a wide range of operating environments, and economical to run. It exercises CPUs, caches, memory hierarchy, and the scalability of shared memory processors (SMPs), as well as implementations of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), JIT (just in time) compiler, garbage collection, threads, and some aspects of the operating system.

The minimum equipment for SPEC-compliant testing is two networked computers, plus a power analyzer and a temperature sensor. One computer is the system under test (SUT), the other a controller system where power, performance and temperature are captured for reporting. A typical test run for SPECpower_ssj2008 takes about 70 minutes using default settings.

SPECpower_ssj2008 is available immediately from SPEC for $1,600; discounts are available for qualified non-profit and educational institutions. More details and order information are available at www.spec.org/specpower or through e-mail at info@spec.org.

Source: The Standard Performance Evaluation Corp.

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