Practical Technology

for practical people.

High-performance nonsense


Quiz time. Get out your No. 2 computers and answer the following question: For the fastest and most reliable high-end computing for your enterprise, will your operating system be 1) Linux, 2) Solaris, 3) OpenVMS or 4) Windows?

OK, put your mice down. If you answered Linux, give yourself 10 points; Solaris, 9 points; OpenVMS, 8 points; Windows — pardon me, what are you doing in this class? Remedial IT is down the hall. Just listen for the chorus of “Are you sure your PC’s power cord is plugged into the wall socket?” You can’t miss it.

Microsoft, after spending decades paying no real attention to high-performance computing, wants to be an HPC player with the release of HPC Server 2008. Can you believe it? Yes, there was Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003. After a long search, I found one user. He told me, “Updates that require reboots are far too frequent for production-use systems,” “Jobs randomly crash,” and “Few HPC applications actually support Windows compute nodes.”

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