[Beowulf] How Can Microsoft's HPC Server Succeed?

Geoff Galitz geoff at galitz.org
Fri Apr 4 03:19:42 PDT 2008

Just to be fair... well... maybe not fair... how about Devil's Advocate:

Are any of the MS anti-malware apps more or less difficult to manage than
their *NIX counterparts?  Network layer firewalls, HIDS, file system
integrity apps, spam containment and prevention apps and so on?

Being a consultant these days means I no longer in live in fear of SSH,
RPC/NFS or SNMP vulnerabilities all of which I have lost at least one
cluster to in my career as a cluster admin... even with appropriate network
level firewalling.

More to the point of the thread:  if we are talking about MS making greater
inroads into the HPC market, then their most likely tactic is to convince
the commercial app vendors to write and/or port their apps to the Windows
platform.  I've seen a number of animation and visualization apps running on
MS clusters.  They do exist and this is their best near-term chance of
making those inroads.  Perhaps Windows 7 with its anticipated modularization
of Windows services will greatly improve their profile for running in a
clustered environment.  

I don't think anyone expects currently established tools like NAMD (just as
an example) to ever be ported over to Windows, but if MS can provide great
development environments and support libraries for a new generation of
scientists... well... maybe the future is less predictable than we may
think.  It seems HPC has been swinging away from performance and towards
ease-of-use for some time, in my opinion.

I've been doing clusters for approx 10 years, but like others I am now
running Windows on my main workstation because it is the right combination
of development environment, application availability and usability for me.
Prior to Vista, this would not have been the case... so life and technology
do evolve.

Just my two cents.


-----Original Message-----
From: beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org [mailto:beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org] On
Behalf Of Chris Samuel
Sent: Freitag, 4. April 2008 09:47
To: Beowulf Mailing List
Subject: Re: [Beowulf] How Can Microsoft's HPC Server Succeed?

----- "Jon Forrest" <jlforrest at berkeley.edu> wrote:

> What technical features could they add that couldn't
> be added to a Linux cluster?

Windows botnet clients & client access licenses ? :-)

Seriously though, my concern is about the impact of the
essential anti-virus, anti-malware and anti-spyware
software on each node of the system be ?

Who could seriously consider running *any* Windows box these
days without them ?

Not least on a system that is designed to have random people
login in and run their applications on.

Christopher Samuel - (03) 9925 4751 - Systems Manager
 The Victorian Partnership for Advanced Computing
 P.O. Box 201, Carlton South, VIC 3053, Australia
VPAC is a not-for-profit Registered Research Agency
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