"Speed is critical"
I can believe that from the NYSE, or any stock trading organization where billions of dollars are moved around in a fraction of a second. These are the people that are concerned about even the amount of wire connecting a server with a client since the speed of light comes into play at the rates they try to move data around.
However in an article I found in Information Week, it seems as though the NYSE is giving up on those larger Sun UltraSparc and IBM Power6 servers and going for cheaper Intel or AMD based systems. There was a time when it seemed that the RISC processors were run exclusively in large brokerage data centers, but that's not true anymore. The article notes that "a small portion of each data center" is devoted to these systems, and that most of their servers are 4 CPU systems with dual cores, noted as a sweet spot for servers.
It appears that the x86 and x64 architectures are here to stay, especially when they are being implemented in the NYSE, whose goal is to have the lowest latency systems in the world. That makes me wonder if we'll start to see more and more database sales from all vendors on this platform.
And if so, does SQL Server have a leg up on Oracle, DB2, and others? I'm not sure, especially as there are plenty of *Nix OS installs on the x64 platform. SQL Server specializes on x64, however, and I'd have to think that will help them build a product with performance that matches or exceeds the competitors in the future.
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