Storage Informer
Storage Informer

To Migrate or not to Migrate, that is the Question…

by on Jun.11, 2009, under Storage

To Migrate or not to Migrate, that is the Question…

As companies face the economic downturn, they are being asked to trim their IT budgets — essentially, do more with less. Meanwhile, IT folks are also being asked to make sure their companies remain competitive with the best server performance running best of breed IT solutions that operate in extremely efficient data centers as well as ensuring every IT dollar spent is showing an RIO within 12 months or less. That raises the question: “Can migrating applications from a RISC architecture to an Intel architecture save a company money and allow them to remain competitive?” In many cases the answer is “YES!”

I have been an Intel Enterprise Technical Specialist supporting many of the large financial customers in the NYC area. My customers have a mix of all sorts of platforms, from commodity X86 servers to large RISC servers and from Midrange to Mainframe systems. Customers perform tests to measure Performance, Performance per Watt and Performance per Dollar. The outcomes will determine the architecture that is best suited for their applications. Customers have also relied on industry benchmarks such as CPU2006, SPECint, SPECfp, SPECpower_ssj2008, and SPECjbb2005 whose results can be found at

I have seen many custom and commercial applications that used to run on other architectures which have been ported and are now running on commodity Intel architectures. Why? The Intel Xeon 5500 Series microprocessor (codename Nehalem) is delivering increased performance, power efficiency, and overall lower cost needed to meet the IT requirements for their need. For example, in the financial sector several applications exist, such as Market Data Feed Handlers, High-Frequency Automated Trading, Risk Analytics, Monte Carlo (compute farms) which require high performance servers to gain a competitive advantage and increase revenues for the firm.

As an example, one of my customers migrated several of their company’s in-house developed applications that were running on legacy RISC servers. Migrating applications to Intel servers was a straight forward process since many of them were written in Java and were fairly easy to port. Other applications that were written in C/C++ could be migrated using Intel software tools, (i.e. Intel C/C++ compiler, Thread Checker, Thread Profile and Vtune) to make the job were extremely helpful in migrating their applications to the Intel architecture. For example, using Intel servers for their Risk Analytic application provided increased compute performance over their legacy RISC servers which helped complete their Risk Analytic runs much faster with fewer servers leading to an overall lower TCO.

Using Intel Xeon 7400 & 5500 Series has not only provided increased overall performance but has decreased the number of servers through server consolidation in the data center which also requires less energy.  This has helped prevent the data center from reaching the capacity of power and cooling. For some of my customers, using Intel Xeon 7400 & 5500 servers has extended the lifespan of their data center, saving millions of dollars not having to build new data centers due to its increased power efficiency while reducing overall operational costs.


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