Over the past few years Microsoft has invested in HPC clusters through partnerships with Cornell Theory Center and hardware makers to provide customers with the opportunity to take advantage of Cornells consulting/workshops to aid HPC application, development and deployment. Dave Lifka, chief technology officer for the Cornell Theory Center, an interdisciplinary research center at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., runs 1,000 servers and migrated from Unix to Windows in 2000. He is excited about the advances Longhorn, the next version of Windows, will bring on this front."We are excited about all the things in Longhorn. The environment keeps getting richer and more integrated," he said. "We chose Windows because we wanted to make it easier for our users to have access to HPC. "We wanted our users to have an integrated development and security environment so that when they developed code, they were integrated in, and there wasnt any porting or modifying involved," Lifka told eWEEK recently. "Things like Visual Studio .Net, .Net and Longhorn make a big difference, and our push for Windows has worked out well," he said. But other customers, like Brian Riley, senior programmer and analyst at a large U.S. health care services company, has no interest in an HPC offering from Microsoft. "Microsoft would like to gain some ground back from Linux [and Unix] in that department," he said. "But given Microsofts track record with security, do you really want the guy with the Excel spreadsheet being able to take over the operating system on your Cray [supercomputer]? I didnt think so." Many Microsoft customers have, however, already successfully built and deployed Windows Server-based HPC clusters, and Microsoft sees this usage growing over time. In addition to the Cornell Theory Center, examples of HPC Windows Server deployments include the following:
Rosetta Genomics Ltd., a startup performing genomic-data-analysis;
Perlegen Sciences Inc., a company that uncovers genetic variations in diseases and clinical trials of medicines; and
SkyQuery.net, a prototype astronomical survey database.
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