Microsoft has proved the scalability of SQL Server for the corporate market by running the software successfully on an eight-way server. SQL Server on Windows NT has, for the first time, achieved TPC (Transaction Processing Council) benchmark results of more than 14,000 transactions per second. The test also produced favourable results for SQL Server's price/performance ratio. The first TPC benchmarks were run on a server from PC manufacturer Axil, configured with eight 200MHz Pentium Pro processors. Using Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise Edition, expected to ship in the UK in January, the Axil server achieved 14,501tpmC (transactions per second) at a cost per transaction of $78.73 (#48.77). Commenting on the new results, Richard Hamblen, product manager for middleware at Microsoft, said: "This is the first time we've made it into the mid teens (on the TPC benchmarks)." Although the price per transaction was relatively high, Hamblen said that this compared favourably to equivalent performance on Unix systems. For instance, according to TPC, an IBM RS/6000 4 cluster server running AIX on Oracle 7.3 costs gives a TPC of 14,289 but costs $229 (#138) per transaction. An HP9000 running Sybase on HPUX gave a TPC of 14,739, but the cost per transaction was $133 (#80.60). Sun had the closest results at this level of performance. The Sun Ultra Enterprise 3000 server running Sybase on Solaris gave a TPC of 14,588 and cost $79 (#47.80) per transaction, almost exactly the same price/performance as NT/SQL Server on the Axil eight-way PC server. Even so, Hamblen believes it will not be long before eight-way NT systems running SQL Server drop in price. "Prices will come down once more manufacturers bring out eight-way machines," he said. MS: thoughts on Plato Sources at Microsoft have confirmed that the first beta release of Plato, a multi-dimensional on-line analytical processing (MOLAP)server, will ship in the first quarter of 1998. The Plato database technology was acquired when Microsoft bought Panorama Software in October 1996. The Plato MOLAP engine is expected to be released at the same time as SQL Server 7, which is due in the summer of 1998.
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