[Beowulf] SGI to offer Windows on clusters

Michael Huntingdon hunting at ix.netcom.com
Thu Jan 18 21:14:38 PST 2007

At 04:41 PM 1/18/2007, Robert G. Brown wrote:
>On Thu, 18 Jan 2007, Jim Lux wrote:
>>And likewise, WinXP on the desktop.  A company with 20,000 WinXP 
>>desktops cannot tolerate BSODs and mystery hangs on a significant 
>>fraction of those desktops at any frequency.  When your call center 
>>operators are being timed to the second, the sysadmin folks know 
>>INSTANTLY when there are problems.
>>But, just as in the server application, the configurations are 
>>rigorously controlled and tested.  It's certainly not the usual 
>>home computer with umpty-five downloaded widgets, etc.
>Even with strong controls and an instantly reinstallable system image,
>WinXX boxes are corrupted once a month or so in our labs.  Too many
>things that can go wrong.  Fortunately, they've dropped the
>reinstallation time to almost nothing.
>>>Linux remains around the 1% level in US desktop occupancy, and even in
>>>the pacific rim where its numbers are the best it only makes it to 3% or
>>>so (the rest are doubtless mostly bootleg WinXX).  The largest monopoly
>>>ever to exist in the history of the world laughs at these numbers.  On
>>>the broader server market Linux fares better, but it is still very much
>>>David against Goliath where David may appear sometimes to be winning,
>>>but Goliath has yet to be hit in the head with any kind of stone.
>>More like grains of sand being dribbled about the feet.
>Well 1% of a person's height would TECHNICALLY be somewhere between 1
>and 2 cm.  And in the server arena, it would be quite a bit higher.
>Say, small pebbles to just the kind of rocks one can turn an ankle
>I should have used a different metaphor, though.  Microsoft so far has
>been to Linux like Fezzik was with Westley in The Princess Bride,
>tolerating its occassional blows.  "I just want you to feel you're doing
>well.  I have for people to die embarrassed..."
>>>Basically, MS's cluster product is almost certainly designed to do two
>>>things.  One is provide them with a credible presence in the cluster
>>>market not because it is particularly important to them as a profit
>>>center but because hurting linux and the other unices strengthens their
>>>position in the general server market in many ways.  They do not want

I dunno. I found print somewhere reflecting the overall HPC market 
for 2007 looking like $11.4B growing at nearly 10% per year thru 
2010, with departmental and workgroup clusters estimated at 6.6B. 
Completely aside from putting a dent in the linux armour, I would 
expect that someone within MS had a huge epiphany in terms of how 
they might be able to help dice up that $6.6B. You can bet they've 
been working with hundreds of significant ISV's and they'll be close 
to their projected ROI, whether it's a better mousetrap or not.

>>I think it's also to support the turnkey software vendors who need 
>>a platform with more compute crunch for their existing Windows 
>>application.  Think finite element models of one kind or 
>>another.  If your application costs $50K/seat, a kilobuck or two 
>>for an OS isn't a big deal.
>As I said, they might want to make money, sure, and although they MIGHT
>do it at a loss if they thought it was important enough they certainly
>would rather not.  I think they'll make money, but probably not a lot.
>It's almost like developing a new business, and there is plenty of
>competition even though of course they'll exploit their advantages where
>they help.
>    rgb
>Robert G. Brown                        http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/
>Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
>Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
>Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at phy.duke.edu
>Beowulf mailing list, Beowulf at beowulf.org
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