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SPEC Releases Performance-To-Power Benchmark

SPECpower_ssj2008 compares server power usage for Java workloads

December 11, 2007 - Today, the Standard Performance Evaluation Corp. (SPEC) has released SPECpower_ssj2008, the first industry-standard benchmark that measures power consumption in relation to performance for server-class computers. The specification can be used as both a benchmark to compare power and performance among different servers and a toolset to improve server efficiency.

Power Consumption

SPECpower_ssj2008 reports power consumption for servers at different performance levels - decreasing from 100 percent to idle in 10-percent steps - over a set period of time. The graduated workload recognizes the fact that processing loads and power consumption on servers vary substantially over the course of days or weeks. To compute a power-performance metric across all levels, measured transaction throughputs for each level are added together, then divided by the sum of the average power consumed for each level. The result is a figure of merit called "overall ssj_ops/Watt".

The benchmark workload represents typical server-side Java business applications. The workload is scalable, multi-threaded, portable across a wide range of operating environments, and economical to run. It exercises CPUs, caches, memory hierarchy, and the scalability of shared memory processors (SMPs), as well as implementations of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), JIT (Just-In-Time) compiler, garbage collection, threads, and some aspects of the operating system.

The minimum equipment for SPEC-compliant testing is two networked computers, plus a power analyzer and a temperature sensor. One computer is the System Under Test (SUT), the other a controller system where power, performance and temperature are captured for reporting. A typical test run for SPECpower_ssj2008 takes about 70 minutes using default settings.

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