Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Microsoft Pitches Linux Cluster Buster

Microsoft today took the wraps off its new Windows Computer Cluster Server product, designed to drive high-end clustering out of research labs and into mainstream enterprises. (See MS Releases Server.)

The software is Microsoft's first foray into the high-performance computing (HPC) market. The aim? To lay a foundation for data-intensive applications running across clusters of server and storage hardware.

Cornell University is already using Microsoft's new product in its Computational Biology unit. Ron Elber, a professor in the University's department of computer science, told Byte and Switch that the software is currently scheduling and running around 20 bioinformatic applications on Dell clusters. "Microsoft is providing the underlying operating system," he says.

Although most of the early adopters cited by Microsoft, such as Cornell and Virginia Tech, are in the research sector, Elber predicts that enterprises will be next. "That's bound to change," he explains. "What Microsoft is trying to do is make the HPC cluster transparent to the end user, whether they are in industry or academia."

A key weapon in Microsoft's armory is that so many end-users are already conversant with the Windows operating system. "There's a lot of familiarity with the user interface," explains Patrick O'Rourke, Microsoft's lead product manager for the new cluster offering. "Our customers that have never tried high-performance computing can easily install this."

  • 1