Microsoft and Novell report an increase in the number of companies seeking their high-performance computing interoperability offering, which lets businesses deploy workload management across both Windows HPC Server and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Those companies hail from a number of economic sectors, including finance and health care, suggesting that business spending on high-level IT infrastructure projects in general could be on the rise after a long period of stagnation. Microsoft has previously announced its intention of make HPC a more mainstream proposition.
Microsoft and Novell have reported an increase in the number of companies
seeking their high-performance computing interoperability offering, which
deploys workload management across both Windows HPC
Server and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, and allows IT managers to balance
server workloads by running specific applications on either Windows or Linux
platforms. HPC uses either supercomputers or
computing clusters to expedite the crunching of large amounts of data.
Additionally, Microsoft and Novell reported having found a new HPC
client base in a variety of economic sectors, "such as the financial,
health care, higher education and technology sectors," Microsoft said June
1. While "businesses looking for ways to streamline infrastructure
management"-and with a need for lower-cost processing of massive amounts
of data-would presumably always be in the market for such an offering, the increase
in interest also hints that business IT spending could again be on the rise
following the global recession.
Microsoft has seen a slowed rate of business adoption for other products,
including Windows 7, as enterprises, small and midsize businesses wrestle with the
question of how much to allocate to IT budgets. However, a pickup in the HPC
market could be indicative of real economic need.
"Companies around the world are realizing the benefits of our joint
interoperable cross-platform technical solutions," Ted MacLean, general
manager for Strategic Partnerships and Licensing at Microsoft, said in a
statement. "The fact that we're able to address a real need in the HPC
market is evidenced by the number of licenses we've issued. These solutions,
coupled with Novell's proven technical support programs, make it easier than
ever for our customers to have confidence that their existing infrastructure
investments will serve them well into the future."
The Microsoft-Novell partnership centers on the Microsoft and Novell joint
Interoperability Lab in Cambridge, Mass.,
where engineers have been developing technology to serve "a mixed-source
has focused increasingly on taking HPC mainstream.
In September 2008, the
company released its Windows HPC Server 2008
to manufacturing, again hoping to appeal to the financial sector and other
market segments with similar needs.
At the time, Microsoft also tried to cast itself as the underdog. In a Sept. 22, 2008, post on
the Windows Server Division WebLog, Ryan Waite, Microsoft's product unit
manager for HPC, wrote, "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
In that spirit, according to Waite, Microsoft started speaking to customers,
"especially customers who didn't use Windows," and observing how HPC
assets were typically used within an enterprise. "In the process we ate a
lot of humble pie while learning how people really use their HPC
servers: job schedulers, deployment tools, cluster administration tools,
compilers, debuggers and MPI stacks."
The unveiling of Windows HPC Server 2008
took place just as the economic slide steepened, forcing businesses to cut back
on spending on many high-level IT projects. But that trend could be reversing.