The changing economics of data warehousing hardware environments mean more options for end-user enterprises as the Linux and AMD64 revolution comes to data warehousing. This is exemplified by improving TPC-H benchmarks and IBM's Integrated Cluster Environment (ICE). In addition to a marketing pun as IBM puts the data warehouse on ICE, the metrics make an engaging case study. A careful inspection of the numbers indicates that the open source revolution is the occasion for the price reductions, not the cause. Approximately 96 percent of the savings is due to hardware improvements as well as lower database costs directly determined by hardware improvements. The actual savings due to open source is one percent of the total system cost. This is the first audited benchmark to be submitted using SUSE's LINUX operating system with any standard relational database (DB2 UDB 8.1 in this case). The results amount to lower costs and higher performance as is typical of the relentless march of progress in commoditizing a successful technology. Data warehousing clients should look to open source for savings in acquisition and lifetime support costs but should not neglect the relentless march of improved hardware performance as a source of savings of even greater current significance.

Let's compare the IBM TPC-H from July 29, 2003, with that from April 9, 2002, at the 300GB volume point. Both execute with DB2 UDB ­ versions 8.1 and 7.2, respectively. The overall price of the configuration has fallen dramatically in the past 15 months, from $2,636,750 to $851,953 (by $1,784,797 or nearly 68 percent). Meanwhile, the composite power and throughput metric (QphH@300GB) remained about the same, increasing slightly from 12,995.4 to 13,194.9 (a tad more than one percent). As noted, this betters the definition of Moore's law (which is still in force and states that processor performance doubles every 18 months) because the IBM eServer with 2GHz AMD chips from the July 2003 submission cost $112,935 in comparison with ProLiant 900MHz chips priced at $777,812 from the April 2002 report. This creates an 85-percent improvement in the price of the hardware during 15 months (see Figure 1).

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