The Gartner Relative Performance Estimate (RPE2) provides rapid approximate assessments of relative server performance. These performance estimates aid in comparing servers, making server recommendations or purchase decisions, analyzing server consolidation and technology refresh scenarios, capacity planning, and defining charge-back valuations.
Comparing the performance of computer systems can be a difficult task. Unlike most other high- technology products and mass- consumer products, servers have little objective information available to help users quantify performance capabilities in absolute or relative terms.
In the absence of mandatory standards for specifying server performance, the IT industry has evolved a number of performance benchmarks. Some of these benchmarks are regulated by industry consortiums, ; others are created by individual hardware or software vendors,; and still others are created by third-party companies or individuals.
Users who require performance estimates often find available benchmark results inadequate. Common reasons for this inadequacy include:
- Data is not available for the specific product(s) users wish to evaluate.
- Data that is available focuses on only a subset of system performance, or it does not reflect the workload(s) users intend to run.
- Data is only available from a source with a possible conflict of interest, such as a seller promoting the purchase of a specific product.
In the absence of comprehensive, relevant and comparable data from manufacturers, Gartner created a theoretical performance estimate called RPE2. The objective of RPE2 is to provide users with performance information for server products. RPE2 accomplishes this by incorporating the following:
- A composite workload profile
- Coverage of all x86, IA-64 and RISC server variants from the leading global manufacturers
- Coverage of current and obsolete server models dating back nearly 20 years
RPE2 is a composite mix benchmark – meaning that server performance characteristics are captured and calibrated against multiple industry benchmarks. The published or estimated performance points for each server are aggregated by calculating a geometric mean value. All components are weighted equally to prevent RPE2 from skewing toward a single benchmark or workload type.
The multiple components of a composite mix benchmark:
- Represent a broader range of workloads and server architecture characteristics
- Enable the impact of benchmark life cycles to be managed in a less disruptive manner. Benchmark substitution can be handled within the existing framework, and the overall spectrum of results can be kept broadly consistent.
- Increase the likelihood that more absolute performance values contribute directly to the composite.
- Allow the incorporation of additional components and mitigate the enforced loss of a single component.
The RPE2 benchmark set was selected from all available industry and ISV benchmarks based on how complete their coverage is for the major manufacturers and server architectures, and how extensive their published results are. The current RPE2 set includes the following six benchmark inputs to its calculation: SAP SD Two-Tier, TPC-C, TPC-H, SPECjbb2006 and two SPEC CPU2006 components.
RPE2 Workload Extensions, introduced in 2010, are a derivative of RPE2 that use different weightings of the constituent benchmark components of RPE2 in order to highlight performance within specific workload profiles. Whereas RPE2 represents a composite mix of workloads, there are RPE2 Workload
Extensions that provide a workload-specific estimate of performance for four areas: ERP, Java, OLTP and compute-intensive workloads.
RPE2 also has many additional virtues that are not all found in any other performance-ranking data:
- Independence: RPE2 was developed by an independent analyst company.
- Transparency: RPE2 is the only composite benchmark mix that is fully documented.
- Comprehensiveness: RPE2 is the only composite ranking that incorporates multiple workload types and covers all major technologies and architectures.
- Durability: RPE2 is designed to adapt to the availability and life cycle of the individual benchmark components. RPE2 continues even when constituent benchmarks change, become obsolete or are replaced.