Monday, September 22, 2008

Microsoft's HPC 2008 Now Live

Microsoft Corp. announced this morning that the High Performance Clustering (HPC) Server 2008 has been released -- both to manufacturing and the general public.

The software is the next generation of Microsoft's Computer Cluster Server 2003. With its release, Microsoft will be taking on Unix and Linux's significant dominance in the supercomputing market. And it appears to know the challenge it faces.

"Yes, there are a lot of skeptics. The HPC industry uses mostly Linux or Unix servers. To even suggest Windows could be successful in HPC is blasphemy," commented Ryan Waite, Microsoft's Windows HPC Server product unit manager, in a blog post this morning announcing the release. Waite said the group researched exactly what it needed to do to compete, talking with Unix and Linux supercomputer administrators, and focused the product around that feedback.

And while it has yet to be seen how successful Microsoft will be at its run, the company appears to be taking the challenge seriously. Redmond has partnered with Cray Inc. as an OEM for HPC Server 2008 and announced a new line of supercomputers starting at $25,000. And, according to the company, the No. 23 fastest supercomputer in the world, at 68.5 teraflops, is running HPC Server 2008.

In a Q&A posted on Microsoft's Web site today, Vince Mendillo, a director of marketing for Microsoft, said that the company's doesn't just want to compete in the supercomputing market, it also wants to bring supercomputing into the mainstream. "Our goal is to make it a part of mainstream computing, make it available to companies that could previously not afford it, to IT pros who found HPC too daunting to consider and to users who have problems that require supercomputing performance but have never had access to it before," he commented.

According to Microsoft, a free trial download of the final version of HPC Server 2008 will be available today starting at noon Pacific time.




More Windows 7 Leaks Sprout

by Becky Nagel

Microsoft's strategy for keeping recent builds of its latest operating system tightly under wraps sprang a few holes last week.

On Friday, longtime Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley reported that new pictures and videos (here and here) of the "M3" build have been leaked online, to Redmond's chagrin. The images show various Windows 7 functions, including the Start button, calculator and WordPad, plus sticky notes and ribbon functionality.

Foley, who saw a preview of the build last week from an non-official source, said on her All About Microsoft blog that Microsoft won't confirm or deny the legitimacy of the images leaked, nor will it comment directly on any Windows 7 rumors.

Microsoft has said it will reveal much of Windows 7 at its upcoming Professional Developers Conference in late October and/or its Hardware Engineering Conference (subtitled "Windows 7 Unveiled") in early November -- and may, as reported last week, launch an early public beta of Windows 7 at one or both of the shows.

While Microsoft may not be speaking out on the leaks, it appears to be trying to stop them: Foley also reported that Microsoft has attempted to identify the sources of the leaks and -- depending on who is telling the truth -- either some site owners hosting leaks have asked for spots on the beta team/copies of the beta in return for revealing their sources, or Microsoft is offering the beta spots/copies as rewards for those who do.

Read Foley's full report on these leaks here.

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More Windows 7 Leaks Sprout