FYI: Oh how I wish, how I wish for PE a64 servers - And a question on Xen the Virtualizing Engine on a PE2650

Ricardo, Gerson gricardo at
Thu Mar 10 14:38:48 CST 2005


Aye, I chose the HPQ 4-way line more because of their singular array
controllers that give spectacular I/O's compared to anything else I saw.
SmartArray controllers, as they're called still have DEC labelled ASIC's on
them - a company all us old techies are endeared to - but I guess this isn't
the place for such talk given that it *is* the Dell PE-Linux forum.  About
the Dell-AMD thing: I guess we (the global PE consumers) need to make allot
of noise about a64 on Dell branded boxes to have anything happen.  We
supposedly are non-existent group according to Dell branded publicized
research.  The claim is that such a small minority is requesting PE Opterons
that it isn't even on their radar - the ever stalling "It's being
considered" party line is issued incessantly.  I know of one company in
particular that pressed Dell enough to have them ship Newisys Opteron HW
under a Dell maintenance contract.  I may be forced to do the same, if

What does bother me, however, is that sometimes they falsely state that
Xeons are globally faster than Opterons  - showing obscure portions of
benchmarks in Power Point presentations instead of stepping back and showing
the whole picture as it is.  With this tactic Dell Marketing has claimed
that the hundreds of independent reviewers throughout these years that have
reviewed the Opteron and A64 processor are simply and totally wrong.  This
saddens me to a great extent as I always had in mind Dell as a forward
thinking company - one not wrought with hidden agreements in similar spirit
to the one which started WWI all those years ago.  I expected these types
antics from more globally obfuscated companies, certainly not from the Dell
I knew.

But what do we know, eh?  We're just customers anyway.  Alas, so much for
going the extra mile for customers - I guess the heroin like funding that
Intel provides Dell with that 'mystery agreement' is simply too sweet a
ambrosia to let go.

More in line with the PE-Linux group: has anyone run Xen (any on any *nix
version) on PE2650 based systems?  If so, what has been your result?  How
well does it work with Hyper Threading enabled?

Thanks all for listening,


-Gerson Ricardo
Gables Engineering, Inc
gerson at 

-----Original Message-----
From: Kevin Stussman [mailto:kevins at] 
Sent: Thursday, March 10, 2005 2:01 PM
To: Ricardo, Gerson
Subject: Re: FYI: Oh how I wish, how I wish for PE a64 servers....

I feel your pain. That's why (and for other Dell performance/stability
related reasons as well), we're moving from PE2650s to IBM e326 (dual A64). 



On Mon, 2005-03-07 at 17:01 -0500, Ricardo, Gerson wrote:
> That they're were  Power Edge servers based on Opteron processors.
> The Intel AGTL+ bus just plain slows down the more processor you add 
> to it.  On my fully populated system, a 4way XEON PE system, each 
> processor ADDS latency to certain transactions!!
> Furthermore, compiling even with EM64T enabled and 16GB of RAM takes 
> forever for a miserable 15GB database.  Why, oh why does my 4 way 
> workstation Opteron system with just 8GB of RAM compile the *same* 
> database on the same OS nearly twice as fast on AMD CPU's that are 
> over 1060Mhz slower *per CPU*?
> <Sigh>  Please forward this email to Mr. Rollins and the dev team as 
> yet *another* supposedly non-existent Dell customer that's requesting 
> Dell branded AMD solutions.  Have them look us up - we buy a number of 
> servers per quarter.  Now that we're going to be virtualizing we were 
> looking for a powerhouse system (4 way 64GB, expandable FC HBA's for a 
> SAN).  Unfortunately Dell has been taken off the list for 4way 64bit 
> systems from the get go.  We're thinking of just using my workstation 
> for the database compiles as returning the four way PE Xeon.  Talk 
> about a fly in the otherwise perfect ointment.  I greatly dislike when 
> agreements between companies hurt customers.
> Cordially,
> Gerson Ricardo
> Gables Engineer
> Gales Engineering, Inc.
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