[Beowulf] SGI to offer Windows on clusters

Eric Shook eric-shook at uiowa.edu
Thu Jan 18 06:53:31 PST 2007

Ashley Pittman wrote:
> On Wed, 2007-01-17 at 08:50 +0100, Mikael Fredriksson wrote:
>> Eric Shook wrote:
>>> I talked to our SGI rep about this yesterday and he told me they are not 
>>> really targeting "hard-core" university research where Linux/UNIX 
>>> already has a strong foot hold.  Instead this is for the Business sector 
>>> where simplified workflows and having easy HPC integration into an 
>>> already 100% Windows Infrastructure is more appealing.
>>> This was his take and it seemed reasonable to me.
>> Yes, it is.  And more so if this cluster/LAN can also utilize som type
>> of "MOSIX" system.  This will substatially increase the throughput of
>> "standard serial" processes.
> I find this statement hard to comprehend, how can any OS substantially
> improve throughput of jobs unless what it replaces is incredibly
> deficient in some way?  The limiting factor on clusters is the speed of
> the hardware, even if some OS magically manages to be say 50% more
> efficient doing it's bit than another OS it's still only a tiny percent
> of time used, substantial improvements in job throughput can only come
> about from better parallel algorithms, better code or faster hardware.

Actually there are a few case studies floating around comparing Linux to 
Windows (not sure about UNIX).  That when running on identical hardware 
and the same code you can lose up to 30% efficiency running on Windows. 
  I am too lazy to try to find my supporting evidence but for the last 2 
years at SC05/06 there have been such studies on the show floor (I don't 
think they made it to the papers/posters section of the conference, so I 
cannot comment on the quality of the study).


>> But as stated in a previous thread, the "hard-core" systems are fairly specialized.
> I think you may be surprised if you actually used a hard-core system,
> whilst it's true that they are more than the sum of their parts the
> parts are mostly that of a bog standard Linux distribution.
> I suppose it could be true that changing to OS to Windows would make
> them less specialised however that probably says more about Windows than
> it does about "hard-core" clusters, I've no idea if this statement would
> be true any more however, I've not used Windows in a number of years.

> Ashley,
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Eric Shook (319) 335-6714
Technical Lead, Systems and Operations - GROW

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