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Red-Hot HPC

There's a pretty big battle in the world of high-performance computing (HPC) and hopefully this will soon affect those of you in IT.

HPC has long been the purview of designers, engineers, 3-D renderers and data miners. These high-performance boxes cluster massive arrays of processors, often x86 (and GPUs for the graphics-inclined), and aim it all at a small set of specialized applications. It's very cool, but unfortunately a bit of a niche.

And many of these systems -- in essence, commodity supercomputers -- have been running Linux. It's free and nice and scalable across clusters, multicores and multiprocessors. Windows Server is also showing some spunk in this market, and the availability of either Linux or Windows means you may be able to apply this muscle soon to more common data-processing tasks.

Red Hat doesn't want to miss this opportunity and has a new bundle -- a software stack, if you will -- that includes Linux itself along with clustering tools and a job scheduler. With so much great commodity hardware, this should form the basis of expensive and utterly ripping HPC systems.

Can you see a use for this style of HPC/supercomputer? Super-smart answers accepted at

Posted by Doug Barney on October 07, 2008 at 11:52 AM