To take the site’s words, “Customers report that Microsoft Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 makes it easier and more cost effective to develop, deploy and use HPC systems, and they report that a Windows-based HPC platform integrates smoothly with existing IT resources.”
The whole article is a bit “Hooray, no more geeky Linux stuff!” but in the end they come to reasonable conclusions:
- MS focuses on small- and mid-sized clusters and not so much on large Tera-FLOPS HPC-systems.
- It focuses on easy integration and management of cluster-nodes into the existing infrastructure; submitting jobs to the cluster is easier.
- They want to make HPC-systems accessible easier for unexperienced end-users or research-groups, where expertise is non-existent.
- Not stated, but existent between the lines in the whole article: You can integrate existing Desktops into the Windows’ HPC-infrastructure.
And I nominate Mr. Matt Wortman from the University of Cincinnati for having the sexiest prediction in that article: He predicts that the carrier of the HPC-applications will be held on small USB- or Ethernet-connected devices which are enhanced by specialised hardware:
“Application developers will provide plug-and-play devices that integrate into your infrastructure via USB or Ethernet. These devices will be simple and capable of a small variety of very high-speed calculations. For example, a standalone bioinformatics server will store and analyze sequence data, or a drug discovery appliance will screen chemical compounds. These simple “unitaskers” will be made and supported for integration into your existing Windows-based environment.”
My conclusion: I can’t fight the feeling that this article is a bit sexed up by MS, although I can’t prove it. There are sentences which just don’t look sane to me:
“Q: What business needs are you solving with high-performance computing?
Wortman: For us, the key business need was reducing costs by eliminating complexity. We did that by eliminating Linux support costs.”
You decide yourself. The conclusions sound plausible though.