A quickie, since this news is getting a little long in the tooth. Found at HPCwire and sent in by email:
T-Platforms and Microsoft have announced the opening of a joint Competency Centre for HPC (High Performance Computing). The Centre’s primary goal is to provide users with a unique service package by two leading companies of the Russian HPC industry as part of the joint program for academic and commercial organizations.
Users will be able to test software on Windows HPC Server 2008 clusters in the Centre prior to purchasing such a cluster or software for themselves as well as secure support for code porting to HPC Server.
When purchasing T-Platforms computing systems with Windows HPC Server 2008, customers get a set of free services: Competence Centre experts consult on using Windows HPC Server 2008, assist in user application deployment and performance optimization for application software packages. The Competency Centre also trains any number of customer specialists to work with Windows HPC Server 2008. The training is customized according to the results of roundtable sessions organized to find out individual customer’s needs. In addition, experts organize workshops for installation of the new platform at the customer’s place.
I think this is a promising model for opening up the low- and mid-range HPC markets, and its precisely the sort of thing the Microsoft can both afford to do and leverage its existing connections with this market to do well.