Powers Unfiltered

An entrepreneur’s journey into grid computing and partnering with Microsoft, by John Powers

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Final thoughts on SC06 — Microsoft is moving the dial

November 28th, 2006 · No Comments

I found this old draft from the end of the Supercomputing conference (almost two weeks ago).  Sorry to be slow, but here you go.

I’m NOT an old-time supercomputer guy, and I therefore have NOT been to every SCxy show (as the Supercomputing show refers to its various annual incarnations).  Indeed, my first show was SC03, in Phoenix, so I can’t bring the perspective of those who have attended since SC88.  However, the changes just in the past four years are dramatic.

In SC03 and SC04, Microsoft’s efforts in supercomputing were absent and ridiculed, respectively.  By SC05, with the beta of Compute Cluster Server out (and the show on Microsoft’s home turf in Seattle), reactions turned more to curiousity.  This year, with Compute Cluster Server shipping, reactions varied from respect to fear to hope (not to mention residual ridicule), but no one could claim Microsoft was absent.  There were dozens Microsoft employees — many from the HPC team, but more than a few others as well.

There were Microsoft clusters in the Microsoft booth (obviously), but also in the HP booth (where Dan and I showed off the Digipede Network running on an 8-node cluster), and in booths of several other hardware vendors.  So — slowly but surely — Microsoft is definitely moving the dial, gaining visibility and partner presence for its new HPC offering.

Software was a different story.  While there were a few application vendors in the Microsoft booth with traditional high-performance applications (e.g. Ansys/Fluent, BioTeam, Mathworks, and Wolfram), I saw no other software vendors running Windows versions of software in their own booths (except us, in the HP booth).

More important than the HPC crowd at Supercomputing (by far, at least for us) will be the traction Microsoft and its partners gain with Compute Cluster Server in enterprise markets like financial services.  We’re working like mad to help with that.  More on that another day.

Tags: Compute Cluster Server · Events · Partnering with Microsoft

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