A Day in the Life

A day in my life. Thoughts on leadership, management, startups, technology, software, concurrent development, etc... Basically the stuff I think about from 10am to 6pm.

7/03/2006

Interview mentioning Microsofts’ enty into HPC

I ran across an interview today that I thought was interesting and I wanted to share it with you. A Conversation with Myricom’s Chuck Seitz, the question that caught my eye was, “HPCWire: How will Microsofts’ entry into HPC affect the cluster computing market? More specifically, how will it affect Myricom?” Here is the part of his response that interested me, I’ve bolded and added reference numbers so that I can comment on what I thought was interesting:

"My views about the likely success of Windows CCS clusters for HPC are influenced by the experience that about 85 percent of Myricom's market (in dollars) is customers who have no interest in being software developers or system administrators, even though they are probably running Linux today. These are customers such as auto companies running LS-Dyna or Fluent, or Saudi Aramco running seismic and reservoir-modeling codes, or the chemistry department at the University of Anywhere. These customers don't operate giant clusters, but perhaps up to a few hundred nodes. This is the market that Microsoft has said that they are going after, clusters of limited size where the most important factor for customer satisfaction is that the installation and maintenance be turnkey. [1]

In the Linux world, licensed applications are distributed as binaries linked to specific libraries, such as specific MPI libraries. Each time Linux and the libraries change, the application vendors have to generate and test new binaries. [2] One very smart thing that Microsoft has done to reduce the logistical problems in operating a cluster and to make life easier for application developers is to standardize the APIs. For fast networks, the APIs for message passing employ Sockets (Winsock Direct). This approach gives up a very small amount in performance, but allows applications to be distributed as binaries, exactly fitting the Microsoft Windows world."

[1] It’s nice to see the words of our CEO echoed by another CEO.

[2] I didn’t know this. I wonder how often Linux administrators update stuff and how the application vendors manage versioning. Anyone know how much of a problem this really is?

Interesting interview, go check it out.

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