Q&A: SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition (64-bit) Offers Improved Scalability and Performance, and a Low Total Cost of Ownership

REDMOND, Wash., April 24, 2003 — Today’s enterprise applications rely on the ability to access and query large-scale data sets from databases management systems that store unprecedented volumes of information. Optimized to run on new Intel Itanium-based servers and the 64-bit versions of Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition (64-bit) is designed to deliver the performance and scalability required to meet demanding enterprise workloads, while offering exceptional total cost of ownership.

Gordon Mangione, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft SQL Server Team

The Transaction Processing Council (TPC) measures transaction processing and database performance in terms of the number of transactions a given system can perform per unit of time. According to their latest benchmark results, SQL Server 2000 (64-bit) running on Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition received the highest mark ever achieved on a single system. This latest benchmark makes SQL Server 2000 the leader in performance and price/performance on all processor combinations starting from single processor servers.

PressPass spoke with Gordon Mangione , corporate vice president of the SQL Server team, to discuss SQL Server 2000 (64-bit) and find out how it will enable large organizations to meet the growing requirement for database-driven mission critical applications.

PressPass: Why is the release of SQL Server 2000 (64-bit) so important for today’s enterprise customers?

Mangione: Large organizations face a real quandary. Given today’s tight economic climate, everyone is under pressure to cut costs while delivering better business value through strategic IT projects. As businesses look to take advantage of the power of new business solutions to automate business processes and improve their ability to extract real value from huge amounts of corporate data, companies are looking to their IT department to deliver solutions that enable people to work more efficiently and to analyze business data in increasingly complex ways.

SQL Server 2000 (64-bit) is an important step forward. In 32-bit systems, complex queries that analyze extremely large amounts of data have to be broken down into smaller data sets that will fit within the maximum amount of addressable memory space. Data beyond this limit has to be moved onto disk or go through an extra step of using intermediary technology like Address Windowing Extensions (AWE) to statically map extra memory, which impacts overall performance and throughput. SQL Server 2000 (64-bit) can directly address more memory space to process complex queries, large working data sets, multi-million dimension member OLAP cubes, etc.. This increase in available system memory opens the door to faster, more efficient application performance.

The foundation for this expanded capability is two-fold. First, SQL Server 2000 (64-bit) was built to take advantage of the new 64-bit Itanium 2 platform. Second, its architecture is tightly integrated with the 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2003. As a result, SQL Server 2000 (64-bit) provides fantastic scalability options for fast-growing companies at a fraction of the cost of the UNIX-based solutions that are available on the market today. This provides non-Windows customers the freedom to move off UNIX in their database environments and Windows customers the massive scalability to continue growing their enterprise applications. Customers’ investments in our technology will scale from the unattended small servers to the largest, fastest and most scalable machines in the world at the low total cost of ownership that they need.

Also, because we designed SQL Server from the ground up to be dynamic and auto-managing, our customers benefit from adding hardware and getting performance gains without having to spend time tweaking their database architectures or configurations. As customers add more processors or memory, SQL Server automatically takes advantage of these increased resources. Customers get better performance and higher levels of scalability without having to pay increased costs to manage their systems. SQL Server scales as the customer’s business processes and data loads scale.

PressPass: Are customers already using SQL Server 2000 (64-bit)? What has their experience been like?

Mangione: There are a number of large companies and organizations that have implemented SQL Server 2000 (64-bit) for applications ranging from data warehouses to natural science simulations. We have customers using it to build large transactional systems that report performance improvements of more than 150 percent.

Using SQL Server 2000 (64-bit) for a data warehousing solution, Pitney Bowes saw cube processing time drop from 96 hours to three hours. Johns Hopkins University told us that the amount of time required to run complex simulation and modeling processes with heavy data management requirements improved from six months to 10 days for its Sloan Digital Sky Survey project. Other customers have taken advantage of the ability to consolidate applications and servers, moving application databases from multiple servers onto a single 64-bit database instance.

Our customer love the fact that even if they are moving to a new 64-bit server, they still maintain and experience the same SQL Server execution environment, data access protocols, data access client software, and database format that they are familiar with from our 32-bit offering. Customers have repeatedly reported back to us how they seamlessly moved to the new 64-bit environment. This proves that SQL Server 2000 (64-bit) allows customers to deploy the right solution at the right price point, and rest assured that SQL Server will grow with them, scaling to the highest processing loads in the industry.

PressPass: What is the biggest change between SQL Server 2000 (64-bit) and what Microsoft has offered in the past?

Mangione: Of course the biggest and most important difference is that SQL Server 2000 only runs on 32-bit platforms, while SQL Server 2000 (64-bit) runs on 64-bit platforms and ships with a 64-bit database server, a 64-bit server agent and a 64-bit Analysis Services. This complete offering provides customers with Microsoft’s most scalable database offering for Online Transaction Processing (OLTP), Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) and data mining needs of enterprises today..

Customers who previously had to deploy expensive UNIX solutions now have a choice, and the Microsoft 64-bit platform is much more manageable and much less expensive to maintain.

It’s important to note that these components are all code compatible with the 32-bit version of SQL Server 2000, which makes it easy to integrate SQL Server 2000 (64-bit) into a server cluster that also uses 32-bit SQL Server 2000 databases.

Other enhancements and component changes have been made both to improve manageability and take advantage of Windows Server 2003. For example, SQL Server 2000 (64-bit) now offers a single, integrated setup for both the database and OLAP components, so both can be installed with a single install process instead of in two steps. Components that used to be part of SQL Server setup, including MDAC (Microsoft Data Access Components), DTC (Distributed Transaction Coordinator), and MMC (Microsoft Management Console) are now included in the Windows Server 2003 setup, and SQL Server 2000 (64-bit) will simply take advantage of these operating system resources.

One other important change is that SQL Server 2000 (64-bit) server clusters will have a higher limit of 8 nodes for a failover cluster.

PressPass: Typically, what kinds of applications do you expect will see the most improvement when they are moved to SQL Server 2000 (64-bit)?

Mangione: Take as an example data warehouses and business intelligence solutions that process very large data cubes or complex queries that have multi-step query plans. In a 32-bit environment, as the amount of data to be processed exceeds the maximum addressable memory limit of the architecture, data is swapped out to disk, which impacts processing time. The ability of SQL Server 2000 (64-bit) to address dramatically larger amounts of memory means more data can be loaded, stored, and kept in memory. That results in faster analysis.

In addition, large online transaction processing applications like supply chain management solutions will benefit from the headroom SQL Server 2000 (64-bit) offers for growth. Any database application that requires data sets larger than the maximum direct addressable memory limit of the 32-bit architecture will see dramatic improvements. And systems such as large e-commerce Web sites that theoretically have an unlimited number of users and a high volume of transactions will also see improvement, as large amounts of memory are required to maintain a connection context for every database object opened by a user. Enterprise Resource Planning and Customer Relationship Management applications also stand to benefit significantly.

PressPass: It sounds like you are saying that 64-bit is better than 32-bit. Is that always the case?

Mangione: Any of today’s resource-hungry enterprise applications that work with very large data sets should run faster and more efficiently in a 64-bit environment. That’s not to say that all business applications operate beyond that 32-bit memory ceiling, but high-end applications that perform complex queries on large amounts of data often do, and they will benefit from the large amounts of directly addressable memory that is available.

Many SQL Server customers today run complex and highly scalable SQL Server systems today on 32-bit. The key thing is if they ever need to grow their scalability or performance with SQL Server, they now have the option to move to 64-bit, which is a very easy move for the customer’s application.

PressPass: Is there any concrete evidence to support the price, performance and scalability advantages that SQL Server 2000 (64-bit) promises?

Mangione: Absolutely. Today we’re very excited to announce that the combination of Windows Server 2003 and SQL Server 2000 (64-bit) running on an HP 64-bit, 64-processor Superdome server with Intel Itanium 2 has established a new TPC-C single-server benchmark record that is higher than any result ever recorded with 658,277 transactions per minute (tpmC) at a cost of just $9.80/tpmC. This further demonstrates that Windows and SQL Server can scale to meet the most demanding workloads, while offering the industry’s best manageability and low total cost of ownership advantages that make it the best economic value on the market today. With this new result, SQL Server and Windows now hold the TPC-C benchmark records for 2, 4, 6, 8, 16, 32, and now 64 processors. No other company can say that.

Additionally, Unisys, Siebel and Microsoft today unveiled they have achieved the #1 result with 30,000 concurrent users running Siebel 7 on a Unisys ES 7000 server with the 64-bit versions of SQL Server 2000 and Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition. This result is a potent proof point for customers who want to ensure their high-performance ISV applications will scale in the most demanding environments. SAP has posted record benchmark results on the Microsoft platform as well.

This portfolio of industry and ISV benchmarks dramatically illustrate the cost advantages the Microsoft platform provides.

PressPass: How much does the cost of SQL Server 2000 (64-bit) compare with the cost of the 32-bit version cost?

Mangione: The price of SQL Server 2000 (64-bit) and the 32-bit version of SQL Server 2000 is the same. This means that companies that are already considering acquiring SQL Server 2000 have the option of implementing their SQL Server solutions on a 64-bit platform, lowering their overall database adoption cost.

PressPass: How can companies acquire SQL Server 2000 (64-bit)?

Mangione: For development purposes, SQL Server 2000 (64-bit) Developer Edition will be available through the Microsoft MSDN subscriber download center. Enterprise customers can acquire new SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition (64-bit) licenses through either the Microsoft Open Licensing Program or the Microsoft Select Volume licensing Program.

SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition (64-bit) is also available through the OEM channel through hardware manufacturers and vendors who package SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition (64-bit) with servers based on Itanium 2 processors.

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