Questions to answer at SC05

So there should be lots of folks at SC05 to answer questions about technology, products, performance, TCO, and most anything else connected with supercomputing you could want to ask.

Some questions I want to ask are from the good folks at Microsoft (Bill Gates is giving the opening keynote), what specifically their HPC initiative is supposed to give us that we don’t already have? This is not an OS war, or OSS zealotry, just a simple question as to what their offering will bring to the table. I will admit to skepticism about it ahead of time. I am not unbiased, as I know what Linux brings to the table here: ease of use, ease of management, plethora of development tools, low cost of ownership, low cost of administration, per compute node costs that are … uh … hard to beat. For the windows initiative to be successful, it would need to outdo Linux by a wide margin in most of these things. I am not sure it will do that on new clusters, but I will approach them with an open mind.

There may be areas where where windows clusters make a great deal of sense, specifically utilizing desktop machines as a Beowulf-At-Night or BAN cluster. I am not sure how the cost would compare to using technologies such as Warewulf, though I could see some administrators who have never used Linux and are windows focused potentially going the pure windows route.

So these are some of the questions I will ask. What questions do you have that you would like to get answers to, and whom do you want to ask them of?

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