The first public beta of Windows Server 2003 Compute Cluster Edition (now apparently called Compute Cluster Solution) was formally launched today at the PDC. First release for clusters of up to 128 machines is scheduled for 1H2006. More details at the Compute Cluster home page.
One interesting note – Peter Galli reports Open Source Code Finds Way into Microsoft Product:
Microsoft plans to include the Message Passing Interface—a library specification for message passing proposed as a standard by a broad-based committee of vendors, implementers and users—in its Windows Server 2003 Compute Cluster Edition …
“MPI is key middleware that was designed by a consortia of all the supercomputing vendors in the 1990s to allow the easy portability of code. It abstracts away things like low-latency interconnect, and our focus is making it super easy for ISVs to move their code,” Kyril Faenov, Microsoft’s director for High Performance Computing, told eWEEK in a recent interview at Microsoft’s campus in Redmond, Wash.
“Actually, we are probably the first team at Microsoft that will actually ship an open-source component inside of our solution, but we haven’t made a lot of noise around this yet,” he said.
Microsoft is working with Argonne National Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy laboratory operated by the University of Chicago, and has taken its MPICH2 reference implementation, which most ISVs have tested their code against, and optimized it for performance and security.
Basically, MPI was a necessity if Microsoft wanted their cluster offering to be taken seriously. Jerry Dennany has a critical review of the PDC presentation.