Microsoft's HPC business, all in one release

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Microsoft logoWell, if you wanted to shop for all your Microsoft HPC product strategy news in one place, they’ve just created the press release for you (credit to HPCwire). Seriously, I’m not even a journalist and the volume of news this week is stressing me out, then we get a 1,300 word press release — have some pity.

Anyway, I believe in the spirit of what they’re doing, so let’s wade through together, shall we? First, this is really three press releases in one.

Part one: The Burton

Like The Donald, only with more reasonable hair.

In a keynote address at the International Supercomputing Conference in Dresden, Germany, Microsoft technical fellow Dr. Burton Smith talked about new approaches to software development where everyday computer programs must be able to execute in parallel on multiple microprocessor cores, allowing developers to build more powerful, humanistic software applications that incorporate speech, conversation, rich visualization and anticipatory execution of tasks. The many-core inflection point was presented as a new challenge for the computing industry, namely general-purpose parallel computing.

Multi-core, manycore, software problem. Good stuff.

Part two: Windows CCS adoption

Since general availability in August 2006, Microsoft Windows Compute Cluster Server (CCS) 2003 has been adopted in financial services, manufacturing, the oil and gas industry, digital content creation, and biosciences, with HPC cluster deployments ranging in size from distributed departmental clusters to shared clusters as large as 7,000 nodes. Recent customers include aQuantive, Areva Challenge, BAE Systems, Boeing, Bombardier Transportation GmbH, Callaway Golf Co., DALCO/Alinghi, Fraunhofer-Institute for Algorithms and Scientific Computing, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Mitsubishi UFJ Securities, Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (Pty) Ltd. (PBMR), South Florida Water Management District and UniCredit Group (HVB).

Obviously lots of enterprise take up, with a big hit in the financial sector (cross-verified by the success companies like Digipede are having with their .Net-based enterprise HPC offerings). A surprise to me was the HPTC take up. It makes sense, though, since a lot of the new HPTC users we get in our center are porting codes they developed during their PhD research on — wait for it — Windows machines. Moving from Windows XP to CCS has got to be easier than moving from XP to Catamount.

The release also has a long list of well-known vendors whose products support CCS these days. And then there’s the hardware vendors that have started offering CCS pre-installed. We’ve covered many of these individually as they were announced, but here’s your crib sheet if you haven’t been following along:

These vendors include Bull SAS, Dell Inc., Equus, Fujitsu Ltd., HP, HPC Systems Inc., IBM Corp., NEC Corp., SGI, Supermicro Computer Inc., TeamHPC (a division of M&A Technology), Tyan Computer Corp., and Visual Technologies Inc.

Part three: The List

Oh, don’t get all uppity and “what list?” with me…you know what list.

Microsoft CCS 2003 is under the hood of two machines on the Top500, but I’m only giving them credit for one: number 193, owned by Mitsubishi UFJ Securities. Number 106 is their own machine at Microsoft’s datacenter in Tukwila, Wash.


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