For anyone unfamiliar with the TPC (Transaction Processing Performance Council), they are an independent non-profit with the goal of creating benchmarks for database systems that are verifiable and reportable to the industry.
It is worth taking a look at their site and some of the research; if nothing else, you may get some ideas on reference hardware for your next implementation or use their posted data sets for benchmarking your own solution’s performance (Microsoft did this when declaring themselves the holder of the ETL world record).
In this latest announcement, the TPC reiterated that they are developing an ETL standard; when this is finally published, it will be interesting to see how all of the individual platform vendors respond, most notably for me being the battle between SSIS and Informatica – a done deal in my mind. Informatica has a great toolset, but extensibility, usability, cost and speed in development and training all suffer greatly in my mind when compared to SSIS.
Other benchmarks: http://www.tpc.org/information/benchmarks.asp