[Beowulf] SGI to offer Windows on clusters

Chris Dagdigian dag at sonsorol.org
Wed Jan 17 13:58:56 EST 2007


There was an interesting thread on MS HPC on this list in the past,  
rather than retype I'll post the URL to my older post:

http://www.beowulf.org/archive/2006-June/015721.html

For those that don't want to follow the link -- there is probably a  
decent market for the MS HPC product, especially for small or  
dedicated systems that may be servicing data collection devices like  
lab instruments or imaging systems that live in non-datacenter  
environments where single point of contact support from an ISV who  
knows your particular domain/market/field cold is essential.  There  
are many non-HCP markets now which need significant compute power  
that is accessible and usable by non HPC specialists and if MS can  
line up the proper systems integrators, consultants and resellers who  
can service the specialized markets then this could be pretty  
successful.

My company has had a Rocketcalc system running MS Cluster Server 2003  
in our colo cage for quite some time now, the feedback from the  
individual actively using it has been very positive.  Regardless of  
what happens it will be an interesting thing to watch.

Regards,
Chris





On Jan 17, 2007, at 1:20 PM, David Mathog wrote:

> Mikael Fredriksson wrote
>>
>> This article: "SGI to offer Windows on clusters" might be worth  
>> reading...
>>
> http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do? 
> command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9007859&source=NLT_PM&nlid=8
>>
>>
>> Any comments?
>
> Seems like it's going to cost $$$ in extra work to keep a cluster like
> that running.
>
> For starters it would need to have the equivalent of a Windows site
> license on the cluster, or it would be pure hell to activate, image,
> and so forth.  Security patches are also going to be interesting,
> since the target market is Windows servers talking to Windows clients
> one can't just firewall off the cluster and ignore it.  But do you
> really want your production cluster running automatic updates?  I
> think not!  There's also the general issues of managing so
> many machines.  I guess you could set up sshd on them and run
> a lot of scripts, but historically I've always found that there's some
> damn piece of Windows that's only accessible through a GUI, and
> who wants to point and click a hundred times, once per node, to do the
> same thing on every node? Finally there's the basic question of:
> "how is this a cluster"?  Sure you can have N nodes splitting a load
> under windows, typically by just shunting jobs around at the network
> level, but in terms of working together as even a loosely coupled
> whole how is that implemented?  Especially if the nodes are just  
> running
> off the shelf, single node type software.
>
> For these reasons I suspect that running a big cluster of windows
> machines isn't going to be an option unless there's a whole lot of
> magic rolled into "Windows Compute Cluster".  And if they can roll
> in that much magic they really should target that software  
> differently,
> as "Windows Multiple Workstation/Server Management Console".  That is
> a tool I'd like to have now, not for clusters, but for groups of
> workstations, which invariably all need the same software installs
> and/or tweaks but which would take hours to reimage.
>
> Regards,
>
> David Mathog
> mathog at caltech.edu
> Manager, Sequence Analysis Facility, Biology Division, Caltech
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