Clusters bucking Microsoft's desktop dominance

The latest TOP500 shows that you can takes Microsoft's percentage in the desktop space, invert it and you have the percentage of supercomputers using Windows.

I doubt that Windows is the first operating system that one would think of when building a supercomputer.

With the release of the latest TOP500 supercomputer list it's clear that I am not alone in this perception. The total number of systems using Windows is 6 and charting that data by performance is even more damning -- Windows gets heaped into the "Others" column.

Obviously wanting to improve on these stats, Microsoft has released a beta of its Windows HPC Server 2008, which is based on Windows Server 2008 and replaces Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003. Final release is due in the later half of 2008.

Kyril Faenov, general manager of HPC at Microsoft, said: "By upgrading to Windows HPC Server 2008 on our 2,048-core production test cluster, we increased the LINPACK performance by 30 percent". LINPACK is the industry benchmarking software and it is a sensible proposition to test against it.

This next quote from Faenov does not seem quite so sensible: "Windows HPC Server 2008 enables support for high-throughput SOA applications with its advanced Web service routing capability and paves the way for bringing HPC capabilities to a broad range of enterprise applications."

So there are enterprises willing to stash a 2000+ node server in the basement for service based applications? Crikey!

Suddenly those 6 machines in the top 500 make even less sense.