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Microsoft Aims To Grow HPC Market With HPC Server R2

Microsoft Corp. has big expectations for Windows High Performance Computing (HPC) Server 2008 R2, which was formally introduced at the High Performance Computing Financial Markets Conference in New York today. Available immediately, the new and improved R2 is now interoperable with the Microsoft IT infrastructure, including Active Directory, SharePoint Server, Microsoft System Center and Microsoft Office. It has comparable performance to Linux at 32-51 percent lower cost over five years, offers HPC Services for Excel 2010 reduces calculation time of huge, complex spreadsheets by orders of magnitude and has growing application support.

The first opportunity provided by this new release is for new users who either found high performance computing (HPC) too expensive or complex. The second opportunity is for existing HPC customers who are running Linux solutions but managing them with Windows tools. The third opportunity is yet to be proven, but Microsoft is optimistic: cloud computing. The company believes there will be customers who will be able to handle the majority of their HPC needs locally, but who will find a cloud solution for special needs more economical.

According to IDC's Earl Joseph, HPC program vice president, the HPC market has doubled in the last decade, and new technologies like multi-core CPUs are driving need for most users to totally redesign and rewrite their applications. He says the new version makes HPC clusters better and more usable.

"They are making it easier for new users to apply HPC for competitive success. They are improving their tools for designing new applications. New scientists and engineers are graduating knowing how to use Windows, so these new products make it easier for them to start using HPC." Joseph said.

All things considered, Joseph sees a lot of upside for current and potential HPC customers, and a cloud enhancement due out in several months will make Microsoft's solution even more attractive. "There is a lot of open market in HPC that Microsoft can win sales in, including their cloud offerings in HPC."