Extending its testing methodologies to the realm of virtualization, the Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC) has introduced a benchmark that allows organizations to determine the responsiveness of database systems operating in virtual environments.

The benchmark, called TPC-VMS (Virtual Measurement of Single-system), is "the first specification in the industry that enables comparison of performance workloads running enterprise database applications across several virtual machines," Wayne Smith, chairman of the TPC-VMS committee, said in a statement. According to TPC, the benchmark could help organizations determine how well a database system, such as a legacy database, would fare in a virtual environment.

TPC-VMS builds on a number of existing TPC benchmarks for measuring database system performance -- TPC-C, TPC-E, TPC-H or TPC-DS. In a test scenario, a user would configure three identical database systems under one of these TPC benchmarks, then run the databases in three virtual containers on a single server.

The TPC's benchmarks are tailored for different types of database workloads. TPC-C and TPC-E test online transaction processing databases. TPC-H tests databases that are used for ad-hoc queries, such as those used for support centers. And TPC-DS tests how quickly database servers process large amounts of data.

The individual TPC-VMS benchmarks based on those other benchmarks are named VMStpmC (for TPC-C workloads), VMStpsE (for TPC-E), VMSQphH (for TPC-H) and VMSQphDS (for TPC-DS).

Thus far, at least one company, Red Hat, has announced it plans to publish the results of how well its Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) performs under TPC-VMS.

Founded in 1988, the TPC is a nonprofit organization that provides vendor-neutral benchmarks for testing the performance of transaction processing and database systems. Among its members are Advanced Micro Devices, Cisco, Dell, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Oracle, Red Hat, Sybase, Teradata, Unisys and VMware.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com