Novell has perused the most recent list of the top 500 supercomputers in the world, and nine of the top ten run on Linux. Not only that, but 85% of the entire list run Linux. It’s not hard to guess why Novell might take an interest in this; Novell’s SuSE Linux is the distro of choice in six of the top ten supercomputers.
After tabulations were complete, Novell wasted no time patting themselves on the back. “Supercomputers are helping to push the boundary of science and knowledge around the world, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server from Novell has been chosen as the optimal operating system to power many of these HPC environments for good reasons,” said Novell VP of Business Development Holger Dryoff.
The current king of the supercomputer hill is the Jaguar computer at the US Department of Energy Oak Ridge lab. It's quite a monster of a machine, capable of 2.3 petaflops. It runs Linux, but not Novell's SuSE. Rest assured, as soon as one of these supercomputers develops sentience and proceeds to wipe out humanity, odds are it will be running on open source. There will be no blue screen to save mankind.
Who says Windows isn’t comparable to Linux on a supercomputer? A beta version of Microsoft’s Windows HPC Server 2008 recently came online at a supercomputer built and maintained in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois and ranked No. 23 in the world with a problem-solving performance of 68.5 teraflops. Eweek.com reports that “it runs on commodity hardware and reported 77.7 percent application efficiency on 9,472 cores, making this facility one of the most powerful supercomputing systems in the world and the fastest Windows cluster to date”. They go on to say that when they deployed Windows HPC on over 1,000 nodes, they went from bare metal to running the Linpack benchmark programs in just four hours.
Microsoft has announced that the release candidate version of Windows HPC Server 2008 will be available for download sometime during the last week of June.