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Microsoft's First HPC Offering Expected To Drive New Service Opportunities

Microsoft's high-performance Windows computing software will enable the software company to take market share from Linux and give service partners new opportunities for integrating and scaling out .Net applications across the Windows infrastructure, industry observers say.

On Tuesday, Microsoft announced the general availability of Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003, the Redmond, Wash., company's first high-performance computing (HPC) offering. Microsoft had announced the product's release to manufacturing at Tech Ed 2006 in June.

Though the HPC market has traditionally been served by large, specialized systems integrators, the integration of the new HPC platform with current Windows infrastructure--as well as easy-to-install features and scale-out application clustering capabilities--will allow ordinary partners to offer new integration and application development services to their customers. It also will give them an alternative to the multitude of Linux clustering solutions in the market, according to ISVs.

Oakland, Calif.-based ISV Digipede, for example, is working with Microsoft Services and large systems integrators, including Hewlett-Packard, to deploy its solution on Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003. But Digipede CEO John Powers believes the high-end market also affords opportunities to traditional service partners.

"We see a lot of opportunities for services because Microsoft built something that can be integrated with the larger Windows infrastructure within an organization and that's where the big opportunities lie," said Powers, whose company is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and targets the financial services industry. "Stand-alone clusters are great, but the way Microsoft will beat its Linux competition is by integrating its solution with the rest of its infrastructure, such as Active Directory and its development tools."

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