Within a year, however, SQL Server again bottlenecked. Benelogic once again looked at upgrading its Dell processors. Because of their age, it was determined to not be the best way to go. Adding memory wouldn’t resolve database woes, and adding better processors might only have brought a 10 percent to 15 percent boost due to existing bus throughput. As the company began preparing to double the load over the next 12 months to be ready for the predicted uptick in demand, it looked more closely at 64-bit computing.
“It was almost as expensive to upgrade our 32-bit Dell servers as it would have been to buy new Dell PowerEdge 6850 64-bit servers,” says Miller. “That got us looking at other 64-bit alternatives, and Microsoft told us that Unisys had tremendous expertise in that area.”
Benelogic first checked out Itanium 2 but found it cost-prohibitive. Instead, it selected the new Unisys ES7000 600 machine with the Intel Xeon MP 64-bit processor — 3.3 GHz EM64T chips.
The Unisys ES7000 600 is sold in cells of up to four processors. You can group up to eight cells for a total of 32 CPUs inside one ES7000 box. The company has initially purchased four cells. Miller says this gives him many possible configurations depending on the type of load: four by four, two by eight, or even one by 16. All it takes is a few clicks and a reboot to tailor the configuration to a specific workload.
What about the original Dell 6650 servers? Benelogic is redeploying them in its data center. They are being repurposed as backup servers for data storage and batch processing server.
And, instead of having to buy another Unisys box when that one runs out of room, Miller can add as many as four more cells to it. It is also compatible with dual-core Xeon technology. Each cell has 16 GB of memory (32 GB per partition), and each partition has four Fibre Channel controllers (two per cell) that connect to the EMC SAN. Each cell is a 3U rackmount.
The company is also running Unisys’ management software, known as Sentinel. Sentinel manages up to eight cells and stores all configuration information for each cell.
“Sentinel monitors all Unisys hardware and can call home in the event of a problem,” says Miller. I’ll be contacted if there is an issue to resolve, or told that a replacement part is on the way. This means I don’t need to train people to monitor the system.”
What about the original Dell 6650 servers? Benelogic is redeploying them in its data center. They are being repurposed as backup servers for data storage and batch processing server. Miller expects to get at least two more years from them.
“The Unisys ES7000 is performing really well in SQL benchmarks,” says Miller “There is no doubt that the 8-way 64-bit processor will significantly improve the performance we can offer to our customers.”