[Beowulf] MS HPC... Oh dear...

Vincent Diepeveen diep at xs4all.nl
Wed Jun 14 13:13:33 EDT 2006


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Joe Landman" <landman at scalableinformatics.com>
To: "Thomas H Dr Pierce" <TPierce at rohmhaas.com>
Cc: <beowulf at beowulf.org>; "Robert G. Brown" <rgb at phy.duke.edu>; 
<beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org>
Sent: Wednesday, June 14, 2006 2:02 PM
Subject: Re: [Beowulf] MS HPC... Oh dear...


> Hi Thomas:
>
> Thomas H Dr Pierce wrote:
>
> [...]
>
>> Microsoft HPC will work IF the market wants the technology that they can
>> supply.  The answer is in market segments. And the Supercomputer market
>
> I don't think the technology is what will win people over.  Its the
> packaging.

The only thing that sells products very well is Marketing.

Mass marketing of course only is possible when the products are easy to use 
for companies,
and not overexpensive.

When users feel they get ripped off, then you can of course only try to sell 
such a plan to a government organisation,
but no longer to companies.

Let's compare mass marketing in highend.
Even though i'm not sure you want to call that highend.
I do :)

xbox360 from microsoft has as a problem that there is good alternatives.
Take for example Sony who will probably be real good in selling their 
playstation3, as they are a marketing giant.
Bigger marketing giant than microsoft actually.

This where xbox360 sells for 100-200 cheaper than ps3.

Important is the customer price in the end. The PS3 is affordable. Cheaper 
in fact than a full blown computer
The graphics card is seemingly quite a bit better of ps3, it has in total 9 
cores versus xbox360 has 3.
PS3 has a massive amount of software that runs at it when compared to 
xbox360.

Porting from PS2 to PS3 is relative easy. Porting from xbox to xbox360 will 
be a nightmare for the programmers.

So there is plenty of reasons to assume that ps3 will get a major success.

Now let's move to highend.

Microsoft is completely unchallenged there.

There is not a single other giant marketing themselves onto TV.
Only TV campaigns work to really mass market products or get your company 
known.

I can remember microsoft marketing xbox. I can remember sony marketing all 
kind of products of them onto TV.

However not many highend 'giants' can compete here with microsoft.

Let's list m$ advantages:
  - about every program runs on their platform
  - they are cheaper than anyone else (about every product is online at p2p 
networks) and
     legal licenses they are cheap too
  - it's easy for programmers to develop software for the platform
  - massive marketing advantages there is for windows server as it gets 
marketed as 1 big
    product that serves all companies.

The only disadvantages i can think of are of pure technical and short term 
nature, not financial nor practical.
Such as: "they don't run yet at a 1024 processor system".

Well let me assure you. Be happy they don't yet. If they WOULD, then you can 
pack your bags already.

The price of a ferrari F1 car is about 5 million dollar a piece or so. 
That's just raw material of it.
Once they made a 'road' version of it. Only a few of them were sold, at a 
real expensive price.

You just can't compare that with the tens of millions of other cars the so 
called  'cluster of the masses',
those all run windows.

Soon it'll have a good name when the next edition gets released.

Then it'll have soon better drivers than linux too for highend network 
cards,
who no longer will release.

And in the end what matters is that visual studio 2005 and newer is simply 
20% to 50% faster for most codes
than GCC. GCC suffering from bugs everywhere with pgo still and somehow it 
isn't really faster for K8.

Who will be so stupid to port his parallel program to MPI?
Waste of time! They work for windows or they don't work at all!

Let's all grow up. MPI will be soon history when m$ takes over.
If Myri signs some exclusive contract with m$, perhaps m$ will implement 
some 'compatible' form of messaging into the windows
kernel, which takes care that windows parallel software for clusters in 
future could get ported perhaps to MPI with some big work.

In all other cases it won't get ported to MPI at all.

Now you can of course still keep running your years 80 software and hope 
it'll keep working in future, but in how far all this
is realistic is not real visible. One day you'll retire and then there is 
not many left that will run that software.

[...]

Vincent

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