[Beowulf] MS HPC... pricing...

Gary Stiehr stiehr at fnal.gov
Tue Jun 13 11:19:08 PDT 2006

Lombard, David N wrote:

>Joe Landman is quite correct that you can do well by presenting a Linux
>cluster with a web-based interface and SMB-based storage.  But, let's
>face it, those who respond to that pitch will respond all the more to
>the full Windows gig.

A web-based interface would probably be a good choice for ISVs as a 
front-end for their product.  This way, on the backend, the application 
could be submitted to any type of cluster (Linux, Windows, etc.).  The 
ISV doesn't have to support all the different platforms but it could 
(upfront or later) without having to change the user interface.  Perhaps 
then cluster vendors/integrators could offer a product that would act as 
a portal to the various applications installed on a given cluster.  The 
cluster admin could configure the various applications as appropriate 
(e.g., to interface with the particular job scheduler in use).  At this 
point, the users of the cluster can run the user interface on whichever 
platform they are familiar with (e.g., Linux, Windows, OS X, etc.) and 
they could focus only on the input/data files needed for those 

This frees up the cluster purchaser from worrying about choosing a 
cluster OS based on whether the end users are comfortable logging onto 
and using that particular OS.  Then an analysis of the pros/cons can be 
performed based off other criteria, such as the cost of the cluster 
hardware/software, the cost to integrate it with any existing 
infrastructure (e.g., authentication/authorization/accounting, 
patching/upgrades, reinstalls) or the cost to create such an 
infrastructure, reports/studies/experiences as to the stability of the 
OS, availability of admins for the OS, features of the OS/distribution 
(e.g. software that is included, parameters that can be tuned, etc.), 
support for some particular hardware in the OS, etc. 

So using a web-based interface to a cluster might attract those who are 
more familiar with GUI interfaces but it might also attract those who 
are looking to keep their options open (both cluster purchasers and 
ISVs).  That is, it may provide an interface with which many users (of 
many different platforms) are familiar but without tying them to a 
particular cluster OS.

Gary Stiehr

>David N. Lombard
>My statements represent my opinions, not those of Intel Corporation

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