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

Jim Lux James.P.Lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Wed Apr 9 15:28:37 PDT 2008

At 02:45 PM 4/9/2008, Donald Becker wrote:

>A sad thing for me is that can no longer publish a similar CD.  We were
>heavily marketed against for being an integrated system, even to the point
>of implying Scyld wasn't really Linux.  In the end we had to change how we
>deliver our system to make it clear.  Today we have a two step install,
>starting with a generic Linux distribution (typically CentOS or RHEL) and
>later adding our packages.  With this packaging we can longer have a live
>CD that acts the same as the installed version.


>Why point to Rocks as an example?  Like so many other "cluster
>systems" it's a non-architecture, an ad hoc system.  It's a packaging and
>support exercise, not innovation.  It's a giant step back to the Windows
>world when simple administration, such as adding new nodes, is done by


And therein lies the challenge.  If you sell clusters into a Linux 
market, they beat you up for a "integrated install" and expect, nay, 
demand, that they be able to tinker with every little aspect. 
(engendered, of course, by the *almost* working nature of things like 
make autoconfigure, and the generally heterogenous nature (if not 
actually iconoclastic) of the user base)

OTOH, if you sell into the Windows market, they will expect a turnkey 
integrated install, and eschew any tinkering.  Remember.. this is a 
market where the second tier customer support for a lot of 
*application software* was "have you tried reformatting your hard 
drive and reinstalling windows?".  (Thankfully, that's not the case 
any more, but it does set a pretty low bar for expectations...)


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