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Cluster Clamor

Clusters are taking center stage in the news this week, as Microsoft plans an announcement tomorrow, and NAS vendors Isilon, OnStor, and Panasas today disclosed new products.

Microsoft CEO Bill Gates is expected to play up Windowss role in large computer clusters in his Supercomputing 2005 keynote Tuesday in Seattle. And Microsoft will unveil "Beta 2" of its Compute Clusters Server (CCS) 2003 in an effort to demonstrate easier-to-implement high-performance clusters in Windows.

Until now, Unix and Linux have been the major operating systems of choice for clustered computing. Microsoft hopes to counter that by tweaking Windows CCS with cluster job scheduling, increased InfiniBand support, and a Microsoft Message Passing Interface (MPI) compatible with the Linux MPI.

We won’t know for yet how successful Microsoft may be in its clustering initiative. Windows CCS won’t be available until the first half of next year.

Meanwhile, Isilon, OnStor, and Panasas are looking to build on inroads they've already made with clustering in the competitive NAS space. At this week's conference, Isilon is unveiling an accelerator node for its clustered storage systems, OnStor is rolling out a new NAS gateway with improved clustered performance, and Panasas is adding blades for its ActiveScale Storage Cluster (See Isilon Intros IQ Accelerator.)

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