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Communications of the ACM

Kode Vicious

All Sliders to the Right

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Dear KV,

I work for a company that has what I can only describe as a voracious appetite for expensive servers, but it seems that simply buying systems with "all sliders to the right"—as one of our developers calls it—is not getting us the performance we are expecting. We are buying the biggest boxes with the most cores and the highest CPU frequencies, but the difference between this year's model and last year's seems not to be that great. We have optimized all our code for multithreading, and yet, something seems to be not quite right. Our team has been digging into this with various tools, some of which seem to give conflicting answers, but maybe it is just that machines really are not getting that much faster each year, and it is time to step off this expensive merry-go-round for a year or two.
    Is Bigger Really Better?


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