Dell Technologies Achieves Top Ranking in SQL Server TPC-H Benchmark

If you want to find a list of the 20 best electric toothbrushes for 2020, you have plenty of options. But where do you go when you want to see a list of the top 10 data warehouse technologies?—probably not your regular social media channels. For those of you who don’t follow database benchmarking news, it’s the Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC) that provides the most trusted source of independently audited database performance benchmarks. Two of TPC’s primary activities are creating good benchmarks and creating a process for auditing those benchmarks.

Dell Technologies recently achieved the top position on the TPC ( leaderboard for the decision support workload benchmark (TPC-H) price/performance results for a 10,000 GB database. This benchmark tests decision support systems that are designed to examine large volumes of data, run highly complex queries, and provide answers to critical business questions. The TPC-H top-ranked system for price/performance was the Dell PowerEdge R940xa server running Microsoft SQL Server 2019 Enterprise Edition with the Windows Server 2019 operating system.1

The performance metric reported for TPC-H is the Composite Query-per-Hour Performance Metric (QphH@Size). Most database benchmarks for high-transaction workloads are stated in transactions per second (TPS). The queries-per-hour calculation for the decision support benchmark is the result of the queries being far more complex than most OLTP transactions. The decision support queries include a rich combination of transformation operators and selectivity constraints that generates intense activity on the database server being tested.

When it comes to choosing servers that will perform well with many concurrent decision support requests, the configuration is critically important. In our Dell labs, we worked on a configuration that provided a balance between price and performance. The PowerEdge R940xa server used for this benchmark was configured with four Intel Xeon Platinum 8280L processors supplying 112 cores (224 logical cores with Intel Hyper-Threading) plus 6 TB of memory. Storage for the benchmark system was supplied by ten 1.6 TB Mix Use SAS SSDs capable of 12 Gbps plus four 6.4 TB Mixed Use Express Flash NVMe small form factor 2.5-inch drives. The Dell engineers achieved 1,420,550.7 TPC-H Composite Query-per-Hour (QphH@10,000 GB) with price/performance of $0.67 USD/QphH@10,000 GB. The TPC Benchmark H Full Disclosure Report is available on the TPC website.1

Benchmarks that rank database systems using real-world workloads typical of decision support environments provide insights to IT professionals by providing a comparison of both price and performance. Perhaps the most important advantage of considering benchmarks when evaluating technology options is the value added by having an independent analysis of test results. The independent analysis means the benchmark results have integrity and show where a system stands compared with other systems. Anyone can then look at the system configuration in the TPC Full Disclosure Report to understand how the system was configured to achieve a top price/performance result. For IT professionals, the report results mean that PowerEdge R940ax servers are among the top price/performance systems for accelerating decision support and similar systems for a 10 TB SQL Server 2019 database.1

SQL Server, along with other RDBMS products from leading vendors, is quite efficient at using memory and solid-state-drive technology. More memory and faster disk drives can usually improve database performance for many types of workloads. With its multiple configuration options, the PowerEdge R940xa can accelerate many databases workloads, such as decision support, online transaction processing, data warehouses, and more.

More information about this testing is available on the PowerEdge R940xa TPC-H Benchmark Data Sheet. For technical information, see the PowerEdge R940xa rack server page for specifications, customizations, and details. In addition, Dell Technologies offers a portfolio of other rack servers, tower servers, and modular infrastructure that can be configured to accelerate most any business workload.

Learn more about Microsoft SQL Server Solutions:

We welcome you to join us at Microsoft Ignite this week. Registration for this virtual event is open to all and will be an excellent opportunity to learn how Microsoft and Dell Technologies’ solutions are helping to shape the data landscape. More information can be found on our Ignite Partnership Page.

Dell Technologies has a broad portfolio of solutions for Microsoft SQL Server. Our Info Hub for SQL Server solutions is a technical library for researching and learning about these solutions. It includes white papers about SQL Server Big Data Clusters, SQL Server 2019 in containers, and running SQL Server on vSAN Ready Nodes, among many other resources.

Are you more interested in an overview of the many solutions for SQL Server? For a business overview of how Dell Technologies and Microsoft can enable your company with modern infrastructure and agile operations, see the Dell Technologies solutions page for Microsoft SQL Server.

¹ Based on TPC Benchmark H (TPC-H), Sept 2020, the Dell PowerEdge R940xa server has a TPC-H Composite Query-per-Hour metric of 1,420,550 when run against a 10,000GB Microsoft SQL Server 2019 database in a non-clustered environment yielding a TPC-H Price/Performance of $0.67 USD per query-per-hour. Actual results may vary based on operating environment. Full results on

About the Author: Sam Lucido

Sam enjoys analyzing solutions and telling a technical story. He uses his extensive data background on Oracle, SQL Server and SAP, to bring a technology message to life through understanding advanced technologies, databases, virtualization, and other solutions in a way that customers can use. Prior to joining Dell EMC, Sam worked at Oracle traveling the United States designing, implementing, tuning, and supporting enterprise applications for small and large companies. He has written many papers on the benefits of Dell EMC solutions, presented at large industry conferences, enjoys the creative process of explaining value in presentations, and managing a team of passionate technologists. Sam lives in Chicago, IL and loves spending time with family, friends, and gardening.