Advances in hardware are also making a huge amount of computing power available to enterprises, while costs are plummeting. An HPC system that 14 years ago cost $40 million cost just $3,800 today and involves a cluster of four PCs with Gigabit Ethernet and a $40 switch, Borozan said. "So, what was once only in the reach of governments and institutions with enormous financial resources is now affordable to enterprises and now even departments and workgroups," he said. "We want to take the advantages we bring to our customers in terms of existing infrastructure, things like Active Directory, and marry that up with an HPC solution that removes the complexity from deployment."But integration with identity management remains one of the biggest problems with HPC today as people need to schedule jobs to a machine, and those jobs often require resources that are available only on other servers. "So who has rights to actually do this? Weve been focused on bringing the ease-of-use and deployment advantages of Windows to our product, along with the existing infrastructure we have of AD and other things," Borozan said. Customers at the departmental and workgroup level do not have huge IT resources, so Microsoft will provide them with a solution that lets them deploy clusters and have a huge amount of computing power at their beck and call rather than have to schedule time with a supercomputer, he said. Asked if Microsoft is looking to the workgroup and departmental level as a niche for its solution, Borozan said that is not the case. When the product launches there will be proof-points that demonstrate that if users want to deploy Windows on HPC at the stratospheric level, this is possible. "So we are not saying that we dont go there, but where we are focusing our energy with product development and partnerships is in the area where we think we add the most value, and that is the departmental workgroup level," Borozan said. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.
Even today, setting up one of those clusters is fairly complex, and that is where Linux has done well in the space. "Theres an open-source community on the fringes acting as helpers to these people who are setting them up," he said