3 Reasons Why the New X6 Business Intelligence Benchmark Matters to Business Leaders

One phrase from elementary school can be the cornerstone of a good marketing strategy. “What does it do? What does it mean?” My mother asked these questions to a grinning sixth grader standing next to his science fair project. Instantly, he replied, “It sits here until Monday.” His cheeky answer, while wildly off-target, was life changing. That day, the rule of "But What Does It Mean?” was born.

X6 enterprise servers continue to deliver impressive performance benchmark results in a host of areas — analytics, transaction processing, virtualization, SAP applications, business intelligence and decision support. Another top result, this one for the SAP Business Warehouse Enhanced Mixed Load (SAP BW-EML) standard application benchmark, has just been posted this week.

The benchmark stats speak for themselves. After reading the details, however, your next thought may be, “What does this benchmark really mean to me?” For enterprise business leaders, here are three key points and why they matter:

1) System x3850 X6 solution for SAP HANA (also known as the X6 SAP HANA workload optimized solution) can deliver near linear scalability: To understand what “near linear scalability” means, first it is crucial to make the distinction between performance and scalability.  Steve Haines, author of Pro-JavaEE*, is quoted in a blog by Nati Shalom** as distinguishing between the two this way:

"The terms “performance” and “scalability” are commonly used interchangeably, but the two are distinct: performance measures the speed with which a single request can be executed, while scalability measures the ability of a request to maintain its performance under increasing load. For example, the performance of a request may be reported as generating a valid response within three seconds, but the scalability of the request measures the request’s ability to maintain that three-second response time as the user load increases."

Translation -- what this means to you: X6 is the common building block that enables the near-linear scaling up and out. Add SAP HANA memory capacity to an X6 SAP HANA workload-optimized solution — more load — and you’ll continue to realize extremely fast response times. This benefit is particularly valuable in running analytics workloads and business queries to support business intelligence initiatives.

2) X6 SAP HANA solutions eliminate the need for SAN storage, something that competitive vendor solutions typically don’t do: System x3850 X6 servers feature a highly modular design. (To see a product demo and a walkthrough video, click here. The innovative design of the workload-optimized solution for SAP HANA enables seamless growth to keep pace with growth in the software environment. Thanks to the capabilities of IBM General Parallel File System (GPFS) software, the solution is designed so that each of the servers in the cluster includes only internal storage — either within the chassis or within an expansion JBOD. This eliminates the need for the SAN storage that often is required in other vendor offerings.

Translation -- what this means to you: Eliminating the need for SAN storage means simplifying the management of the data center environment, reducing rack space and saving money on power and cooling. (There is an additional point that is noteworthy here, too, although it is not specifically tied to the benchmark. System x3850 X6 solution for SAP HANA also features built-in high availability and synchronous disaster-recovery capabilities using IBM GPFS software. Read more about this in an ITG Study.

3) There are many different kinds of performance benchmarks that can help data center leaders make more informed infrastructure choices: Per the SAP benchmarks page, the SAP BW-EML standard application benchmark was developed with three requirements in mind: near real-time reporting, ad-hoc reporting capabilities and reduction of TCO in mind. The first two clearly facilitate business intelligence needs. Business trends can change rapidly, so the ability to make instantaneous fact-based decisions is crucial. Near-time reporting provides the factual basis for these necessary changes in business direction. Ad-hoc query capabilities enable users to sort through massive quantities of data in a variety of ways, slicing and dicing to meet varied needs that arise. As for TCO, the ITG study provides an analysis and additional details.

Translation -- what this means to you: If you are in a business in which trends morph rapidly and customer preferences frequently drive changes in direction, then this benchmark is relevant to you. The quicker you can make timely fact-based decisions, the more likely you are to gain competitive advantage. X6 systems serve as a flexible platform that adapts dynamic and ever-changing  business needs.

For more information about the X6 family of servers, contact your Lenovo sales representative, or visit the Lenovo server web site

For more information about the System x3850 X6 solution for SAP HANA click here.

Many thanks to Tag Robertson for providing expertise and backup information relevant to this blog post!

Original art by Kathy Holoman.

* Nati Shalom, http://natishalom.typepad.com/nati_shaloms_blog/2007/07/the-true-meanin.html, (March 18, 2015).

**The ServerSide.com, http://www.theserverside.com/news/1364275/Pro-Java-EE-5-Performance-Management-and-Scalability (March 18, 2015).