Microsoft announced new performance benchmarks this week for SQL Server 2000 that comply with the Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC) requirements that disqualified its previous scores. And though the required changes might have conceivably caused a performance hit, the new scores are actually 15 percent faster, while delivering the industry's best price/performance on clustered hardware. And though SQL Server can't yet touch the recent performance record attained by IBM DB/2, Microsoft can at least crow that all of the top scores on the TPC benchmarks were obtained by databases running on Windows 2000.

Microsoft was able to achieve a score of 262, 243 transactions per minute (tpm) on a cluster of 12 Compaq Proliant 8500 servers, beating the best entries by Sun Microsystems and Oracle, though falling short of the 440,879.95 tpm achieved by DB/2. Still, SQL Server performs this benchmark at a cost of only $19.75 per tpmC, far below IBM's $32.28. Microsoft notes that it would take this SQL Server 2000 configuration only two days to handle all of the e-commerce transactions that Amazon.com and eBay.com processed in 1999.

"These results confirm that Microsoft SQL Server 2000 offers a tremendously powerful database solution that not only scales up but also scales out using low-cost hardware, so that virtually any organization can add scalability at the lowest possible cost," said Paul Flessner, the vice president of Microsoft .NET enterprise servers. "We’ve not only shown that our new SQL Server 2000 results are in full compliance with the TPC-C requirements, we’ve also exceeded the performance of the now-withdrawn results we delivered in February."

Microsoft and Compaq teamed up to achieve this new benchmark score using a cluster of 12 Compaq database servers, each with eight Intel Pentium III Xeon 700 microprocessors and 8 GB of memory. Compaq also provided high-speed connections between the database servers using its ServerNet II solution. "Microsoft remains a committed member of the TPC and our customers can look forward to Microsoft’s ongoing and active participation in TPC benchmarking," said Steve Murchie, the group product manager for SQL Server. "SQL Server 2000 satisfies TPC criteria while offering low-cost, virtually unlimited scale-out capabilities for the most demanding e-commerce environments.