[Beowulf] How Can Microsoft's HPC Server Succeed?
jlforrest at berkeley.edu
Wed Apr 2 19:01:58 EDT 2008
Joe Landman wrote:
> Hi Jon
> Jon Forrest wrote:
>> First of all, I like Microsoft, and I voluntarily use
>> Vista as my desktop of choice. I've built and run the
>> Windows environments for the top CS and Civil Engineering
>> departments in the US, and I was the first to port
>> Postgres to Windows NT.
> Postgres is nice. Did you do a native (ms C compiler) port or a cygwin
It's an interesting story, which is OT to Beowulf.
I was working for Mike Stonebraker in his research group.
Jolly Chen and Andrew Yu and just added SQL support
to Postgres. Mike and I had been to Microsoft several
times to see about them supporting us, and other research.
I was very interested in Windows NT and very impressed
by Microsoft. This was back in about 1994 or 1995.
Anyway, I had NT 3.51 running on a 16MB 486 and I decided
to try to port what was to become PostgreSQL. I used the MS
Visual C compiler, not cygwin, which I'm not sure existed
back then. The Postgres code was surprisingly easy to
port, although the porting went much faster when Mike
was able to get a 64MB MIPS machine donated. The big
accomplishment was that I was able to
run the infamous Wisconsin Benchmark.
> Oddly enough, for a long time I have believed (and we have proposed
> privately to Microsoft) ways in which I think it could make a
> difference. In short, there are codes that are now and will always be
> windows based, and that is fine. They may need to run on a cluster, and
> they should be able to.
What kind of reaction have you received from them?
What code are you thinking of that is now and will always
be Windows based?
> It needs to adapt. But not necessarily "compete" the way it has in the
How can they adapt to an Open/Free Software world?
> The big question that needs to be
> answered (by Microsoft) is whether or not they need to displace or take
> over for Linux to be successful in this space. I believe the answer to
> this is "no".
But how will they be able to make any money?
> It might be worth engaging John West (InsideHPC.com), and a number of
> others in this conversation, as there are some good and informed views
> about this out there.
I hope they read this thread.
Research Computing Support
College of Chemistry
173 Tan Hall
University of California Berkeley
jlforrest at berkeley.edu
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