[Beowulf] SGI to offer Windows on clusters

Ryan Waite ryanw at windows.microsoft.com
Thu Jan 18 18:19:50 PST 2007

I know some of you aren't, um, tolerant of Microsoft for various reasons
but I thought I'd clear up a couple errors in some of the posts. If you
hate Microsoft at least you now have an email address for when you're
feeling grumpy.


Retail pricing for Windows Server is about $750. Retail pricing for
Compute Cluster Server (CCS) is around $470. Most users will get the
product through either an OEM or a volume licensing agreement. In both
cases they pay less than retail. Academic users can purchase CCS for
less than $100.

CCS is comprised of two CDs. The first is Windows Server. The second CD
contains the clustering tools. The second CD has three major features:
1) a job scheduler, 2) systems management tools, and 3) Microsoft's MPI
stack. The majority of HPC systems sold are small (less than 256 nodes)
and we've designed for those customers. So, users get an OS, job
scheduler, management package, and MPI stack for < $500.

Our MPI stack is based on MPICH2 but we've made performance and security
enhancements. The folks at ANL are very talented UNIX developers but
Windows is more efficient using async overlapped I/O. We've made other,
similar changes to our stack and we're providing those changes back to
ANL for incorporation in future MPICH stacks. We're also the first group
at Microsoft making these kinds of sizable contributions back to the
open source community.


These folks are great and I'm sure they have a lot to teach from their
years in HPC. Also, we've hired people onto our HPC team from places
like Platform Computing, Cray, Silverstorm and other related companies.
While we may be new, and while v1 products may be a little rough, I
think we're going to help the community bring HPC into mainstream

Ryan Waite
Group Program Manager, HPC

-----Original Message-----
From: beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org [mailto:beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org]
On Behalf Of Joe Landman
Sent: Wednesday, January 17, 2007 10:33 AM
To: Jim Lux
Cc: Mikhail Kuzminsky; Beowulf at beowulf.org; mike at etek.chalmers.se
Subject: Re: [Beowulf] SGI to offer Windows on clusters

Jim Lux wrote:

>> My understanding of pricing (for the windows portion) is that it adds

>> (as an OS) $500USD to each node.  So for a 32 node machine, this is
>> extra $16k USD "tax" added on.  Doesn't include the absolutely 
>> necessary antivirus, anti-spyware, ...
> Probably wouldn't be that expensive, especially if you boot the same 

It is.  List is 479$US per compute node.

> image on all nodes of the cluster.  Update one, update all.

I agree.  If it were 479$ per cluster (of any size, sorta like you can 
do with Linux for $0 per cluster), this would be interesting.

> Site licenses for AV and AS software are heavily discounted from
> as well.

$125 per node is guess.  Even if it is $60, or $20.  Basic idea is the

Costs scale per node for this path.  It adds cost.  Whether or not the 
benefit one derives from these costs is worth it is important, as is 
whether or not the benefit one derives from the alternatives are higher 
or lower.

> Is this Windows clustering version, too?



Joseph Landman, Ph.D
Founder and CEO
Scalable Informatics LLC,
email: landman at scalableinformatics.com
web  : http://www.scalableinformatics.com
phone: +1 734 786 8423
fax  : +1 734 786 8452 or +1 866 888 3112
cell : +1 734 612 4615

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