The good news is, according to InterSect360, the worst is over. Overall, according to Addison HPC took a 20% hit in 2009 going from $19.0 to $15.2 Billion. In 2010 things should be bouncing back.
The (Windows) miss
Overall the presentation covered quite a bit of ground including Workstations, SMPs – virtual and physical, Windows, Cloud/SaaS/Utility, InfiniBand, Accelerators, and File Systems. In my opinion, Addison made some excellent points at the end of this presentation, but missed with the Windows assessment. … there are real reasons why Windows, and Mac OS X for that matter, don’t have a big foothold in HPC. I covered this five years ago when I wrote Why Linux On Clusters? and what was true then is true today. I’ll save you the detailed reading. Clusters are about building machines around problem sets. To achieve an efficient design you need flexibility and choice. Open source and the Linux OS provide the best flexibility an choice.
And the heroes
I could not agree more with the leadership point. The HPC people I have encountered are often pioneers within their own organization. Supporting these “hero’s” is one way the HPC community can grow and flourish outside of big universities and government labs. And yes, I believe there are also some Top500 space heaters siting out there.
There is more in Doug’s article, including some interesting thoughts on community in HPC. I recommend a read.