How Many Updates Can Be Done In A Second?

It's not exactly an Olympic event, but it's about as close as the computer industry gets. In the race for the fastest data-base management software, Oracle Corp. has set a new record. Running on a supercomputer made by nCube, a Beaverton (Ore.) company funded by two top Oracle officials, the Oracle Parallel Server software handled 1,073 data-base updates per second. The nCube machine used 64 microprocessors working together in parallel. Such speedy transaction processing is key to airline reservations, banking, and scientific applications. The software will be available later this summer.

According to Omri Serlin, chief executive of the Transaction Processing Performance Council, a quasi-official testing group, Oracle held the earlier record of 426 transactions per second, running on Digital Equipment Corp. hardware. More important, Oracle has also set a new price record. The Oracle software and nCube hardware together cost about $2.7 million. That works out to $2,482 for each transaction per second purchased. The previous record of $2,600 was held by an Informix Software Inc. data-base program running on a Sun Microsystems Inc. workstation, says Serlin.

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