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The first SQL Server 2016 TPC-E benchmark results were published last week by Lenovo and Fujitsu, each using Intel's new Broadwell E5-2699 V4 22 core (44 thread) 2.20 Ghz processer in 2 socket configuration.
These two new benchmarks occupy top rankings for TPC-E Price / Performance but gains cannot be distinguished clearly between hardware vs SQL Server as the use of latest Intel CPUs allows no direct comparison against earlier SQL Server 2014 benchmarks on similar hardware.

TPE-E Top Ten Price Performance Results

A review of both benchmark disclosure reports indicates no use of new SQL Server 2016 features such as In-Memory OLTP which would likely improve performance considerably. We look forward to seeing future benchmarks implement SQL Server 2016's considerable performance optimisations.
Lenovo's benchmark is the first for its x3650 M5 2 socket server since IBM's last benchmark on this server back in 2014 on the x3650 M4 version. 
Throughput was 4,938.14 from 44 CPU cores & 512GB RAM which is proportionally superior to Lenovo's x3950 X6 December 2015 benchmark which achieved TPC-E throughput of 11,058.99 from 144 CPU core & 4TB RAM
In short, Lenovo achieved 44% throughput from 30% CPU core count & only 12% RAM between these two recent TPC-E benchmarks
In case you'd like to review the details, here are links to the TPC-E benchmarks

Lenovo's x3650 M5 SQL Server 2016 benchmark

Lenovo's x3950 X6 SQL Server 2014 benchmark

 
 
The Nepal earthquake disaster has been terrible, hurting or killing so many people it can't possibly be called good.
But something good is happening in Kathmandu, something that might improve Nepal in the long term.
Whilst politicians blunder around, delaying mountains of foreign aid at the airport Kathmandu's youth are getting out into the countryside to deliver aid directly to those most in need without any outside assistance.
These most chaotic of people are organising themselves, rising to the huge challenges ahead of them.
To understand how this might help Nepal it must first be understood that a long history of extreme economic unfairness has existed between Nepali people from "the valley" (Kathmandu) and people from "out of the valley" (the villages). This chasm between the people has polarised Nepali politics for decades, even prompting a civil war - the "Maoist insurgency" which was eventually settled peacefully leaving opposing sides fighting in politics rather than with guns.
Nepal's national problem is politics much more than poverty. Bad government is what keeps many Nepalis poor, particularly those outside "the valley". The reverse could also be argued but this cycle of poor politics and poverty has been waiting for an event large enough to break the cycle.
Such an event occurred just before mid-day on Saturday, 25-Apr-2015.
The earthquake smashed an area stretching over hundreds of kilometres with Kathmandu close to the epicentre and spreading widely throughout central Nepal. 
Kathmandu went into survival mode for the following 48 hours as more than 100 significant earthquakes continued shocking central Nepal. People slept on the streets or in parks, afraid to enter their houses as the earthquakes repeatedly pounded the city. Some climbed out of the rubble but sadly many thousands died under collapsed buildings.
Then something happened as the earthquakes started to settle down. 
Kathmandu's youth started discussing over social media what they could do to help those less fortunate in rural villages "outside the valley". This despite their own suffering.
Messages were exchanged about who was going in which direction, who could supply which urgent supplies, who could arrange transport, who was riding their cycles or simply walking. They gathered in groups and posted messages so others could join them.
These groups started leaving for villages carrying whatever they could including tarpaulins, food, water & medical supplies.
They are still leaving, nearly two weeks after the first earth quake
Just imagine, you're sitting high up on a mountain amongst the rubble of your village. It's hot. You survived an earthquake a days ago and you've had nothing to eat or drink since. Your house has crumbled and you're too afraid to enter anybody else's home in case it also crumbles. And it's raining,  pouring.
Then a small group of young people from the valley you've never seen before climb up your mountain. They give you a tent, much needed drinkable water & some food. There is a student doctor amongst them who cleans and bandages your child's wounded leg, leaving you with fresh bandages, hand sanitiser and some cream until more help arrives. They make phone calls to let authorities know you need help before moving on to help others.
Just imagine what that means to you.
Previously Maoists visited your village spouting propaganda but today Kathmandu valley's youth have put their own problems aside, climbed your mountain to help you in your immediate need.
As Kathmandu's youth (and probably youth from all over Nepal) continue reaching villages, stories & images are returning - some of devastatation, others of survival.
Stories also come from the airport, of aid being held up in customs by careless beaurocrats. 
The government appears incompetent but Kathmandu's youth is connected & taking action like a new Nepali army with mobiles instead of kukris, with knowledge & co-ordination instead of power & corruption. 
They have started & they continue connecting with rural people throughout central Nepal. They are changing their nation, creating something positive from the devastation.
Can their efforts lead to Nepalis understanding each other better, possibly even increased political stability?
This earth quake has been terrible
But something good might also come from this earth quake

I have received numerous enquiries about how to donate effectively for Nepali earthquake relief.

A reputation of aid theft unfortunately exists in Nepal, starting with the previous royal family & continuing with politicians so I encourage making donations to smaller local relief efforts who work more directly within affected communities instead of to larger institutional charities.

There are many good charities operating in Nepal but I recommend the following three options for modest personal donations. Further details on each are provided below

 

1. Sindhupalchok relief fund.
(supporting a severely affected rural area surrounding Kathmandu)
 
2. GDAP - Gwahali (help) for Differently Abled People
(supporting a blind children's orphanage in north west Kathmandu)
 
3. Nepal Youth Foundation
(a high quality US led charitable organisation with 25 years local experience and extensive support programs throughout Nepal)
 
 
Two of the above organisations are small, localised efforts & the third is a mid sized but very well established organisation operating in Nepal for 25 years with excellent governance including audited, published financial and operational reports. Donating to any of these three will help funds reach those who need it most rather than covering the costs of charitable beaurocracy or ending up in government slush funds.

I do not recommend large initial donations. Instead, make smaller donations and consider repeat donations if you are satisfied with the information we provide back to you. Relief efforts are likely to be needed for some time. Feel free to contact me directly to discuss at gregl@mydba.com. If I do not respond immediately whilst I travel within Nepal, please contact MyDBA's CFO Jane Li at janel@mydba.com.. 
 
Donating directly into bank accounts of Nepali organisations carries the duplicated extra costs of international money transfers and also complications of withdrawal from the banks in remote areas. I am providing use of a personal banking facility to collect funds donated in Australia to minimise bank transfer fees and also provide smooth access to the funds for local co-ordinators. Summaries of how funds are spent will be provided to those who donate to the first two funds and also provide contact information along with the donations via email or sms. Please donate non-rounded amounts to assist wiith reconciliation.
 
All of us at MyDBA thank anybody who supports these local relief efforts or other relief funds.
 
1. Sindhupalchok relief fund.

Sindhulpalchok is the rural area surrounding Kathmandu's north / east boundary & is one of the worst hit areas by the earthquakes. At least 1900 are already confirmed dead and thousands more remaining missing in this area. Huge numbers of homes have been destroyed and steep terrain makes much of the area inaccessible, slowing delivery of aid.

Bharat Shrestha is the UN's main LGBT person in Nepal & is a first cousin of the family who accommodates me in Kathmandu. Bharat has travelled to Sindhulpalchok's district headquarters Chautara village where he remains and has called for financial assistance to support local relief efforts. Bharat will use whatever funds are available for local purposes including provision of food, water, shelter & medical needs.

More on Bharat:

MyDBA's Kathmandu business manager Sabita Shrestha has also travelled with Bharat to Sindulpalchok to assist with his relief work.

Donations can be made from Australia to my personal bank account where no international transfer fees will be deducted. I will arrange for the funds to reach Bharat and Sabita with no administrative costs and provide a summarisation to all donors about how these funds are used.

To donate:
Bank - Commonwealth Bank Of Australia
Acct - 10294631
BSB  - 063120
Name - Greg Linwood
Comment - 'BSSF: ' + your name. Prefix comment so I can allocate to this fund
Email me - gregl@mydba.com or SMS me: +61408899515 to let me know what amount you have deposited
Amount - whatever you feel appropriate but please chose a random odd amount so we can match to your email / sms
 
 
2. GDAP - Gwahali (help) for Differently Abled People

GDAP supports the blind children's orphanage that I was visiting when the main earthquake struck. GDAP is run by passionate volunteers led by Sonika Manandhar, who works for the Microsoft Innovation Centre in Kathmandu.

The blind children's orphanage building sustained some damage in the earthquake but they are now operating without financial support and their guardian's house was demolished in the earth quake, leaving these children in a dire predicament.

GDAP will use funds provided for the care of the ~15 children in this orphanage and the 3 carer staff who live with them to purchase food, water & medical care

More on GDAP & Sonika:

Donations can be made from Australia to my personal bank account (details below) where no international transfer fees will be deducted. I will provide a summarisation to all donors about how these funds are used

To donate:
Bank - Commonwealth Bank Of Australia
Acct - 10294631
BSB  - 063120
Name - Greg Linwood
Comment - 'GDAP: ' + your name. Prefix comment so I can allocate to this fund
Email me - gregl@mydba.com or SMS me: +61408899515 to let me know what amount you have deposited
Amount - whatever you feel appropriate but please chose a random odd amount so we can match to your email / sms
 
 
3. Nepal Youth Foundation

NYF is an extraordinary organisation which has provided various community support services throughout Nepal for 25 years. NYF was founded by US lawyer Olga Murray who was celebrating her 90th birthday in Kathmandu on the day of the big earthquake. Olga is an inspiring leader of gender equality and social fairness agendas in Nepal. 

NYF was originally founded to provide support to enslaved girls after Olga observed their plight whilst trekking in Nepal 30 years ago but has branched out to provide many other community services including health, education, domestic violence shelters & orphanages throughout Nepal's rural and municipal areas.

NYF is a fully transparent charitable organisation who publish financial and operational reports on their website and undergo regular published audits by CharityNavigator.com. It would be hard to find a better run charitible organisation than NYF.

Major international charities waste funds sending teams & reaching inaccessible communities in which NYF already has extensive, locally managed facilities operating.

Donations should be made directly to NYF via their website:


NYF has a chapter organisation operating in Melbourne, Australia led by Ru "Dee" Chung who I have met a couple of times in Melbourne. If you wish to contact Dee directly to discuss NYF's activities in Nepal, her email address is:

Dee Chung [chungrudee@gmail.com]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
On the morning of 25-Apr-2015 I enjoyed pancakes & coffee for breakfast with the Nepali family who accommodates me during my frequent visits to Kathmandu. We discussed the old Audrey Hepburn movie "My Fair Lady" & watched some of the movie on YouTube. I have always loved the theme song "On the street where you live" so ironically I went off into the day with the words from one of my favourite songs on my mind..
  
"I have often walked down this street before, but the pavement always stayed beneath my feet before.."
 
When the big earthquake struck around mid-day north west of Kathmandu, I was toward the epicentre in Kathmandu's north west fringe visiting a blind children's orphanage that MyDBA supports in partnership with the charitable organisation GDAP (www.facebook.com/gwahali).
 
MyDBA helped to form GDAP last year with a member of the Kathmandu Microsoft Innovation Centre staff, Sonika Manandhar who impressed us with her determination to provide support to a small group of blind Nepali orphans who are outstanding students, topping their classes in a regular school despite having limited special support for their visual impairment."
 
The GDAP volunteers were showing me a new computer lab they had recently built for the orphanage children. We had only just entered the computer room, switched on the central server and waiting for Windows to boot up when the building started shaking violently"
 
 The family home in Kathmandu
(the computer lab building & door I leapt from)
 
We were only a few metres from the front door at ground level so I picked up one of the children and was about to head for the door when Sonika said that we should stay inside. I put the child down as I realised she probably knew more about quakes than I did but I was frightened and decided to get out of the building anyway. All this in no more than 2 or 3 seconds as the quake was building.
  
I leapt out the front door onto heaving earth which was flowing like an ocean swell, making it impossible to stand upright. I instantly realised why Sonika was right about it being safer inside than out. I managed to stay on my feet but sprained an ankle badly in the process. Bricks and concrete were falling from buildings in the immediate vicinity. I was hit in the back and left arm but luckily neither did much damage other than some scratches.
 
A wheat field was only 30 feet away but I had to pass a 3 story building construction site to get there which was being thrashed violently by the quake. My ankle couldn't support my weight so I crawled the distance, watching upwards at the building site for more falling debris whilst being thrown around by the heaving earth.
 
Our driver followed me closely out of the building and was also hit by falling debris. A falling piece of concrete hit him in the head, puncturing his scalp and removing an area of flesh a couple of inches in diameter. We bandaged him with a t-shirt and placed his white baseball cap on for pressure which quickly turned red.
 
The initial quake lasted what seemed to be a very long time, though I have since read that it was only 30 seconds or so. Other less-intense but even more frightening quakes quickly followed whilst everybody called out hoping to hear responses but there was far too much noise to hear each other. 
 
Aftershocks are far more frightening than the first big quake because you only think of survival instinctively during the first shock but you're much more mentally conscious of the dangers during aftershocks.
 
Unfortunately the aftershocks continued for the next 5 days and continue as I write this. 
 
The quake had a full dimension of sound including high pitched screams, scratching and shattering sounds from debris, animals and people. A far louder, deep roar came from below the surface - a strange sound that was extremely loud but also inaudible, possibly below the human hearing range from the earth's movement
 
After the first couple of quakes finished, the children were led out into the wheat field where we huddled with other locals. A series of aftershocks continued shaking the earth, destroying neighbouring buildings and scaring the living daylights out of us. 
 
 Running for safety in wheatfield near GDAP during Kathmandu earthquake
(in the wheat field)
 
We stayed together in the wheat field for a couple of hours before returning the children to their guardians who were sitting safely outside the orphanage, which was also intact. Everyone was scared but otherwise uninjured so we decided to move our driver toward medical care and also attempt to get another visitor from Melbourne in our group to the airport as he was scheduled to fly out that evening.
 
As we descended back down into Kathmandu valley we passed through zones of utter devastation. I felt ashamed to take photographs and won't be sharing the few I took for my own memoirs. The Nepali army and police were already on the scene helping locals.
 
Once back down in Kathmandu, the streets were filled with people seeking safety from their own houses which might still fall. We heard radio reports that the major hospitals in the area were damaged but we found an impromptu medical clinic on the street and sought medical attention for our driver on a dusty street corner. The medics removed the piece of scalp, cleaned his wound and bandaged his head. They wrote his treatment summary on his forearm as a medical record for any other medics who might see him.
 
 Our driver was injured during the earthquake in Kathmandu
(our driver receiving medical attention at a street clinic)
 
I drove the remaining members of our group back to drop-off points around central Kathmandu. The last drop-off was at the airport after which I managed to hail a taxi home along new Bagmati road which runs around the rear of the airport, safely away from any houses.
 
As I arrived back at the family house in Jorpati (North East Kathmandu) one of the locals supported my weight and led me toward the local bus park where my Nepali family were huddled on rugs, thankfully uninjured. Their house was also undamaged thanks to careful planning in its construction by the family's father years ago.
  
We camped on the dusty Jorpati bus park grounds for two nights whilst making plans to depart for Singapore. The first night was spent completely exposed to the elements and thankfully it didn't rain more than a sprinkle. We set up a tarpaulin the second day and slept under it that night during which a large lightning storm passed over Kathmandu. We had some shelter but still got wet as the tarpaulin wasn't water-proof.
 
 Storm Shelter at Jorpati Bus Station
(our tarp on the right) 
 
Whilst camped at the Jorpati bus park we decided it was necessary to evacuate the family to Singapore so the mother could be assured of receiving medical treatment for the renal replacement therapy she depends upon. Kathmandu hospitals capable of providing this treatment along with her additional complications had either been damaged or would soon be over run with large numbers of casualties from the earthquake.
 
 Jorpati Bus Station Shelter 
 (Jorpati bus park evacuation area. Our tarp in the centre behind orange tarp)
 
Children playing at Jorpati bus shelter
(Karate practise continues) 
 
We made short trips into the house to pack our belongings and headed into the airport for a 9PM AirAsia flight to Singapore via Malaysia. The airport was a chaotic scene of exodus. We had only purchased one way tickets to Singapore, not knowing how long we would have to stay there and this proved a significant complication in our departure which was eventually resolved after much discussion.
 
Unfortunately our AirAsia flight didn't land at Kathmandu on schedule. After circling for four hours waiting for weather to clear for high altitude landing by a captain inexperienced at this airport, it was diverted to Calcutta. We had been looking forward to sleeping on aircraft seats rather than dusty blankets but we ended up sleeping on the airport terminal floor that night. At least we had shelter.
 
Delayed flight out of Kathmandu
(AirAsia D7197 diverted to Calcutta) 
 
Whilst waiting in the airport we witnessed a steady arrival of international aid from various countries, first from India but quickly followed by China, USA, France, Israel, Singapore as well as other countires. We saw huge military transports such as Globemaster, Ilyushin, Hercules and Airbus bringing in supplies and extracting citizens. 
 
International Aid arriving in Nepal
(Hercules on the taxi lane at Kathmandu airport)
 
US Air Force arriving in Nepal
(USA C17 Globemaster at Kathmandu airport)
 
An Israeli military search and rescue team stopped for coffee nearby our terminal campsite whilst waiting for their equipment and dogs to be unloaded. We chatted about their plans and one of them wanted to take photographs with me as we had both attended Table Tennis events at the Sydney Olympics. This morning I saw some of their "dog cam" video footage online as one of their dogs searched buildings for bodies.
 
Our AirAsia flight was rescheduled for 1:30PM the following day but again circled for two hours before eventually landing later in the afternoon. We were quickly summoned, boarded but then our plane needed its tires changed which kept us stuck on the tarmac for close to another 3 hours.
 
Eventually our flight was cleared but the captain was forced to stop during taxi whilst a wild dog was chased off the runway and we were finally on our way. We entertained ourselves trying to whistle it up from within the plane.
 
I want to say something positive about AirAsia. 
 
They scheduled additional crews from holidays and re-scheduled flights to provide evacuation options for people stuck in Kathmandu from the quake. Our captain was a highly religious Catholic who had planned to walk the Camino trek in the Spanish Pyrenees but he put his holiday aside to organise and lead an ad-hoc extraction flight for us instead. I am very thankful to him and his crew.
 
We eventually landed in KL at 3AM but the wheelchair we ordered wasn't ready at the gate, which triggered an interesting interaction with the AirAsia captain.
 
When the captain realised the wheelchair had personally called ahead to order wasn't ready, he asked his entire crew who were exhausted after the diversion to Calcutta to stay behind and help ensure a wheelchair could be found for us. He stayed with us and tried to comfort our exhausted Nepali mother whilst talking with the airport staff to round up the wheelchair. 
 
He spoke to his staff with words I instantly recognised as Nepali, the first being Sabai (everyone). I asked him if he was Nepali but he was Malayan. There appeared to be a linguistic connection between Nepali and Malayan, which I guess is obvious given the word "Malayan" is derived from "mountain range" just as "Himalayan" means "Mountain Range" in Nepali. We had a good chat about that until the wheelchair turned up and we were on our way. 
 
The Air Asia captain was an inspiration who arrived just when needed.
 
We have now been in Singapore a couple of days & medical treatment is difficult but going smoothly. I am planning to return to Kathmandu on Monday May 4th to start the process of rebooting MyDBA in Kathmandu.

Nepal now has its own mountain to climb & it is our turn to help carry some of their load.
 
 
A message from MyDBA Managing Diretor Greg Linwood
 
The recent earthquakes around Kathmandu have taken a terrible toll on the Nepali people.
 
All of our staff and their immediate families are safe and un-harmed but a few have either totally lost their homes or suffered significant damage.
 
We have received many messages of encouragement from our customers, suppliers and partners. I have not been able to respond to these yet due to the challenges in simply surviving this week but I would like to thank everybody here first and will respond individually as soon as possible.
 
I was in north west Kathmandu toward the epicenter, visiting a blind children's orphanage that MyDBA supports when the quake hit but escaped with minor injuries. A separate account of my personal experience of the earthquake will be published shortly.
 
I have departed Kathmandu temporarily to seek medical attention in Singapore for the mother of the family who accommodates me during my visits to Kathmandu. Her illness does not relate to the earthquake but she depends on frequent medical assistance and the hospitals in Kathmandu are either too damaged or overrun with casualties to provide reliable medical services for her.
 
MyDBA's office in Kathmandu is temporarily closed for a period of 7 days to allow our Nepali staff to focus on looking after their familes during the immediate aftermath & recovery period.
 
Our office building has been cracked but is still standing and we are waiting on an engineering inspection to determine it's safety before returning
 
Members of our Melbourne and Sydney based teams have assumed additional responsibilities and MyDBA's services are continuing to be delivered smoothly.
 
I will return to Kathmandu on May 5th to assist our Nepali staff and resume our Kathmandu operations asap.
 
MyDBA will definitely be continuing its operations in Kathmandu.
 
Nepal now has its own mountain to climb and will need Sherpas to support them.
 
Microsoft announced SQL Server 2014 at the 2013 North American TechEd conference in New Orleans yesterday, with a Community Technology Preview (CPT) to be released "within a few weeks"
 
One of the features we at MyDBA are excited about in SQL 2014 is "In-Memory OLTP", a feature that allows OLTP tables to be defined as in-memory tables rather than regular "on disk" tables. 
 
In-memory tables will optimise performance through 4 key mechanisms:
 
  • Elimination of disk reads entirely by always residing in memory
  • Hash indexing (more efficient than on-disk table b-tree indexes)
  • Elimination of locking & latching mechanisms used in on-disk tables
  • Reduction in "blocking" via improved multi-version concurrency model
 
Instead of being an entirely new form of in-memory database engine, SQL Server 2014's In-Memory OLTP is a feature available within any SQL Server database, allowing you to configure specific existing or new tables as "in-memory" or have a mixture of "in-memory" and "on-disk" tables.
 
This approach is a significant innovation from Microsoft, making In-Memory technology more readily accessible than having to migrate to an entirely new database engine, as is required with most other in memory database solutions
 
There are some limits to which tables can be configured as "in-memory" but we think that the limitations are reasonable and will still allow wide spread use of this feature.
 
Tables containing binary columns such as text, xml or row width exceeding 8kB cannot be configured as "in-memory" and there are also some limits on SQL commands and transaction concurrency options. 
 
Despite these limitations we think In-Memory OLTP will be the one of the most important database engine optimisations since SQL 2008 introduced database compression.
 
 
Microsoft have also published a YouTube video on the benefits one of the largest SQL Server implementations in the world (BWin) has already realised from using SQL 2014 In-Memory OLTP technology.
 
Implementing SQL 2014's In-memory OLTP technology in their web session state database server, BWin's peak transaction rate increased from 15,000 tx p/sec to 250,000 tx p/sec.
 
Whilst SQL 2014 won't be released until next year, we are excited about "In-Memory OLTP" and already thinking ahead about how our customers will be able to reach new performance levels, not thinkable with existing SQL 2012 technology.
 
 
Imagine... a future without disk bottlenecks, locking, blocking or deadlocks!
 
MyDBA's Transaction Blog is back.
Please stay tuned, we will be posting articles & news here soon!