We recently went through an elaborate sizing exercise with IBM Techline for WebSphere Commerce for a client that was evaluating their e-commerce platform and strategy. As is the norm, cost mattered, and the default assumptions baselined Linux and hypervisor on an Intel platform.
Our experience with Power7 is that we generally get excellent $/PVU value from IBM's new servers particularly in a distributed architecture so we ran a parallel exercise using IBM Power7.
The result: the workload could be run on Power7 with a 58% lower licensing requirement than Intel. This is based on the number of Processor Value Units (PVU) and other factors associated with the number of environments. But from a pure cost point of view, it's significant. Look for a paper with more detail on this in the near future.
Our opinion is that IBM struck the right balance of multi-threading, L2/L3 Cache to core count and clock speeds with Power7 to make it a very capable mixed workload engine. One of my colleagues, Timothy Prickett-Morgan, reports and writes extensively about IBM Power architecture and IBM Systems at ITJungle and The Register.
Another irony is that IBM Power technology is most often associated with AIX and IBM i even though it's very capable at running the most 'enterprisey' versions of Linux on top of a very capable and mature virtualization platform. Add in the fact that Power server virtualization avoids the processor overhead, memory caps and I/O limitations that have been reported at 10 to 30 percent on virtualized Intel servers, and there is an even greater value in Power deployments.
The conclusion is that smart licensing strategies should include an objective view of infrastructure and challenge conventional thinking.