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Microsoft, Red Hat trot out competing cluster software

Redmond and the open-source firm show off their cluster software and hit the nickel slots at SC07 in Reno.

Microsoft released the public beta of Windows HPC Server 2008 for running large computing clusters, part of its plan to creep into supercomputing.

HPC Server 2008 is the successor to Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003. HPC Server runs on the individual servers in a cluster and also comes with higher-level software that coordinates all of the members of a cluster. Microsoft says it achieved a 30 percent improvement in Linpack, a commonly used supercomputing benchmark, on its production cluster with 2,048 processor cores.

HPC is also being used on a 1,151 node cluster at the Holland Computing Center at the University of Nebraska.

But not so fast! Rival Red Hat and Platform Computing on Tuesday announced Red Hat HPC Solution, which combines Platform's Open Cluster Stack1 with Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Effectively, this allows computer architects to do the same things, but with different software.

Although Linux is little seen on desktops, Linux and Unix are far more dominant in this market.

The announcements, like yesterday's list of the world's 500 fastest computers, took place at SC07, a major supercomputing conference taking place in Reno, Nev.

Later in the week, expect to see an announcement that simulations conducted by a group of German scientists on a 4,420 node cluster still have not been able to determine how the Cal-Neva can deliver a 99 cent breakfast and still turn a profit.