Microsoft and the Linux-Friendly Windows HPC Server

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From the “Say What!?” files, Microsoft recently added some interesting features to the latest beta release of Windows HPC Server 2008 [version R2].  Why say you this?  Well, according to the source article, Microsoft is taking a “if you can’t beat em’, join em'” attitude when it comes to HPC.  Recent studies by IDC indicate Linux as the clear leader in HPC with roughly 75% of the overall operating system market share.  Windows commands a puny 5-6% according to the same study.

Microsoft logoWindows has been not strong in this space. Most HPC users are loyal Linux users because it is reliable and their legacy apps are designed for it,” said Jie Wu, IDC’s research director for technical computing. “Microsoft also has a large perception issue to overcome.”

So, what sort of features are Linux-friendly?  The latest R2 Beta release of HPC Server 2008 contains a “hybrid” installation mode.  This mode allows users to run HPC Server 2008 without clobbering their Linux installs.

There are certainly cases where even the most devoted Linux user will want to run a Windows app, and now they can do that without ripping and replacing their existing Linux,” said Ryan Waite, head of Microsoft’s Windows HPC Server engineering team.

One could certainly argue this is simply a ploy by Redmond to spur interest in their HPC variant by delivering Linux an olive branch.  Either way, they are making a concerted effort to do more for you and I in HPC.

For more info, read the full article here.