In a conference call with Steven Martin yesterday, the head of the products division that includes .NET, Azure, IIS, ASP.NET, Dublin and Oslo shared some very impressive news.
Led by Greg Leake, a team of researches in the Microsoft Connected Systems Division set up two rigs in the lab. One was a 64-bit IBM WebSphere 7 Application Server running on an IBM Power 570 (IBM Power6/AIX 5.3 platform) and the other was a Hewlett Packard BladeSystem C7000 with Windows Server 2008 64-bit. Each were set up to run comparable versions of the Stock Trader reference application which has long been a reference standard for performance benchmarks.
In his paper, Greg compares the performance and price of these two IBM WebSphere platforms to the equivalent workloads developed using the Microsoft .NET Framework and deployed to the Hewlett Packard BladeSystem C7000 with Windows Server 2008 64-bit operating system.The results are astounding.
Of course, as you would expect, the ported version of the application, for .NET outperformed the J2EE/Websphere version by 57%, because it is no surprise that .NET is leaner and meaner than the Java platform, especially when it comes to distributed communication and Service Orientation leveraging WCF.
What is even more impressive, is that the IBM reference application, designed for Websphere runs 37% more efficiently on Websphere on Windows than Websphere on AIX! It gets better. The AIX rig, which Microsoft acquired on the regular market, retailed in at a total system cost of $215,000. This figure includes the IBM Power 570 hardware cost plus cost of Websphere middleware.
The alternative? The platform that has long been regarded as inferior for large enterprise application scenario? The platform that has spanked the IBM equivalent by 57%? The Windows Server 2008 system, running HP BladeSystem C7000 has a total hardware cost of, wait for it… $50,161.That’s an 81% system cost savings for a configuration that outperforms the 6-figure-monster by 57%.
Now of course, this would be news in itself. But it doesn’t stop there. Greg’s group found that the identical reference application, deployed for Websphere on Windows Sever 2008 outperforms the IBM/AIX rig by 37%, and all for a 66% cost saving. The savings of course is reduced from the 81%, because unlike the Windows Platform, Websphere, well, isn’t free. Tacking $37,000 on for Websphere middleware licensing costs brings the Websphere on Windows system cost up to $87,161.
Now of course, the questions you have to ask, given this detailed information are the following:
- Why would you choose an inferior platform to run you mission critical enterprise applications when it underperforms when compared to an equivalent hardware and middleware configuration, especially when the IBM/AIX configuration costs 81% more?
- If you are running Websphere, why would you not opt to save 66% of your total system costs by moving to the Windows platform, especially if doing so would result in over a third better total application performance?
These are some big questions that Microsoft hopers Big Blue will attempt to answer.
In fact, Microsoft has prepared a site dedicated to informing and educating the industry on its findings: http://www.websphereloveswindows.com/
Now, while the performance benchmarks and cost savings speak for themselves, I have some breaking news. The report is flawed. Severely flawed. The report doesn’t speak to other costs such as administrative costs, maintenance or professional services. If you are an IBM/Websphere/AIX shop, you know too well how expensive keeping these systems running is. From tooling, to readiness, the Microsoft platform just has a far better story when it comes to administration and maintenance. And, if you’ve ever hired at Websphere consultant, you know what a bargain services from even a premier managed partner like Neudesic are.