×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Unholy Matrimony? Microsoft and Cray

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the sick-of-so-called-supercomputers-running-linux dept.

Supercomputing 358

fetusbear writes with a ZDNet story that says "'Microsoft and Cray are set to unveil on September 16 the Cray CX1, a compact supercomputer running Windows HPC Server 2008. The pair is expected to tout the new offering as "the most affordable supercomputer Cray has ever offered," with pricing starting at $25,000.' Although this would be the lowest cost hardware ever offered by Cray, it would also be the most expensive desktop ever offered by Microsoft."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

358 comments

What's the frame rate and resolution? (5, Funny)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#25026931)

I mean, come on, this thing's probably gotta play some pretty good games....

Let's see Toms Hardware and Anandtech put one of these babies through their paces!

My question is, how big does your Word document have to be for it to take a second to scroll from the top to the bottom of the document.

Re:What's the frame rate and resolution? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25026959)

I am biting a horse's nipples as we speak.

REE-HEE-HEE-HEE-HEE!

Re:What's the frame rate and resolution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25027091)

But does it run Linux?

Re:What's the frame rate and resolution? (5, Funny)

azzy (86427) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027287)

But will it run Vista?

Re:What's the frame rate and resolution? (2, Funny)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027319)

damnit, I knew this would be in the article before I'd get a chance to post it.

$25,000 pc's ought to be good enough for everyone.

Meanwhile, I wonder where the performance of this system is in comparison to other linux based systems?

Re:What's the frame rate and resolution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25027327)

It's probably not powerful enough to run vista...

Re:What's the frame rate and resolution? (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027339)

Forget Linux and Vista! I just want to know if it'll run Duke Nukem Forever!

Re:What's the frame rate and resolution? (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027139)

I don't know, but somehow I suspect that they will find a way of filling the whole thing with cludgy programs which nobody wants. It'll probably end up being about as fast as a P2.

When has MS ever seen extra capacity and said to themselves that those cycles belong to the customer?

Re:What's the frame rate and resolution? (4, Interesting)

nomadic (141991) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027401)

When has MS ever seen extra capacity and said to themselves that those cycles belong to the customer?

Like the linux kernel developers are any better...every OS maker is greedy about increased CPU power. I first ran Linux in 1995 and it isn't that much faster now.

Re:What's the frame rate and resolution? (5, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027457)

Like the linux kernel developers are any better...every OS maker is greedy about increased CPU power. I first ran Linux in 1995 and it isn't that much faster now.

Well, I guess if you want to go back to pine for mail, it might be pretty quick.

Re:What's the frame rate and resolution? (3, Insightful)

j-pimp (177072) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027535)

When has MS ever seen extra capacity and said to themselves that those cycles belong to the customer? Like the linux kernel developers are any better...every OS maker is greedy about increased CPU power. I first ran Linux in 1995 and it isn't that much faster now.

I just use WindowMaker as my desktop and turn off all the services I don't want. Its quite fast for me.

Re:What's the frame rate and resolution? (5, Funny)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027593)

Like the linux kernel developers are any better...every OS maker is greedy about increased CPU power. I first ran Linux in 1995 and it isn't that much faster now.

It would be if you'd upgraded your machine.

Re:What's the frame rate and resolution? (1)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027547)

Ohh, i fully expect the latest "Best XXX money can buy" articles that were posted to be updated with this.

I'm sure it'll be super duper fast with a 1500$ case and 2 raptor drives in a raid 0 config.

The Microsoft Tax (4, Funny)

Serenissima (1210562) | more than 5 years ago | (#25026935)

Man, now even with buying a supercomputer we have to pay the Microsoft tax. We should sign a petition for them to sell the computers with Linux on them. Then we can drop the price to $24,900. That's WAY better.

Re:The Microsoft Tax (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25027455)

Actually, if you go to the Cray site and configure a system, it is available with Red Hat Linux for no cost (getting HPC adds $469)

Ah, so THIS is what Vista is supposed to run on. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25026939)

n/t

One thing jumped out (0, Flamebait)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#25026941)

Cray CX1, a compact supercomputer running Windows HPC Server 2008.

Apparently even a Cray can't run Vista?

Re:One thing jumped out (1, Troll)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 5 years ago | (#25026977)

This might have been funny if Windows 2008 wasn't the server version of Vista. But then again, probably not.

2008 is Vista (1)

Xoc-S (645831) | more than 5 years ago | (#25026985)

Server 2008 is the same kernel as Vista.

Re:2008 is Vista (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027301)

Server 2008 is the same kernel as Vista.

If the Vista kernel was all that people were running, would people be so disappointed with Vista?

I would say no. Because there is a lot more expected of an OS than just the kernel, in most cases. And that is doubly true when the name of your operating system includes the word "windows", since then the operating system includes the kernel, the gui, and several other things that wouldn't be considered as integral to the operating system in other camps.

Re:2008 is Vista (1)

Windows_NT (1353809) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027583)

Vista runs the 2.6.23rc4 kernel. and Yes, It does run linux, and yes, it does run Duke Nukem forever, but only with WINE.
Now, the REAL Question is:
What would Ballmer do?

Re:One thing jumped out (1)

smadasam (831582) | more than 5 years ago | (#25026997)

Server 2008 has the exact same kernel as Vista SP1, so it is running vista. Still, this seems to be a very dark day in HPC land.

hardly news (4, Funny)

Tom (822) | more than 5 years ago | (#25026943)

Oh please. This really isn't "news for nerds". Maybe news for fools, but all of us here have known for months that this would be coming. I mean, what else can you imagine that would run Vista smoothly?

Re:hardly news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25027619)

That was my first thought too...this is Microsoft's subtle way of letting us know the hardware requirements for running IE 8 on Vista Ultimate Premium Platinum Free Blowjob edition.

Not Vista? (0, Redundant)

snoyberg (787126) | more than 5 years ago | (#25026945)

I guess not even a supercomputer could run Vista properly...

No so, it can run vista smoothly, if... (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027053)

You add a couple of high end video cards and an additional 2gb of ram. Only the standardd configuration could not run vista smoothly.

Re:No so, it can run vista smoothly, if... (4, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027167)

I beg to differ, I was running it just fine with only 512mb or ram on a 2.39ghz celeron processor. Once I turned off all the eye candy there were no performance issues.

It's probably the only case I can think of where the minimum requirements were at all realistic.

Re:No so, it can run vista smoothly, if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25027409)

Yeah, but the eye candy is the only reason to run Vista in the first place.

Re:No so, it can run vista smoothly, if... (1)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027633)

That's not true! There's also the ability to piss off anyone who knows anything about computers by telling them that you're running vista and you don't intend to upgrade to XP!

Ooh, then ask them for tech support!

Re:Not Vista? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25027071)

Let's all just keep making Vista jokes until this idiot runs out of mod points.

Finally (3, Funny)

Wireless Joe (604314) | more than 5 years ago | (#25026947)

I'll be able to run Crysis and Prince of Persia at the same time.

Doubtful... (3, Interesting)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027375)

If they're running their shopping cart on it. I just tried to configure one and got the following error. I mean, honestly, what has happened to Cray if they're releasing applications that don't handle simple CRUD exceptions? This would earn an F in high school level computer science and released into production should be enough to tank their stock:

Server Error in '/configurator' Application.

An item with the same key has already been added.
Description: An unhandled exception occurred during the execution of the current web request. Please review the stack trace for more information about the error and where it originated in the code.

Stack Trace:

[ArgumentException: An item with the same key has already been added.] ...

Version Information: Microsoft .NET Framework Version:2.0.50727.42; ASP.NET Version:2.0.50727.42

Vista minimum requirments. (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25026955)

Finally, Microsoft has teamed up with a partner that can supply a computer capable of running vista smoothly.

Note, a small part of me died in writing this. Its an obvious joke that will be repeated ad naseum through out the comments, from this post to post #453.

Finally (-1, Troll)

PhasmatisApparatus (1086395) | more than 5 years ago | (#25026957)

Something that can run Vista! But not Aero. They had to revert to the Server (2008) edition.

Re:Finally (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25027271)

Gee, I'm so glad four other people didn't already make that "joke". Oh wait...

cluster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25026963)

I wish I had a beowulf cluster of these but it wouldn't matter because I live in Cincinnati where we have no power.

Oh well...hot grits troll instead?

This thing... (5, Insightful)

kidde_valind (1060754) | more than 5 years ago | (#25026979)

...is not actually a "desktop". It's not even "a" computer. It's a cluster, and Cray could definately do better than this. Especially considering Unisys has built computers (no, not clusters) with a lot of processors a long time, many of them Windows Capable. So... Cray builds a cluster, Microsoft gets some free ad space for HPC Server. Hooray!

Re:This thing... (5, Insightful)

Fishbulb (32296) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027479)

Yes Cray could do better, but the Cray of today is not the Cray of yesterday.

It's as close to 'in-name-only' as you can get, considering the number of times it's been bought off and fleeced.

Re:This thing... (1)

timbck2 (233967) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027617)

Yes, Cray could do better...

Service Unavailable

HTTP Error 503. The service is unavailable.

And now from Hell. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25026987)

This is Geraldo...
It is getting awfully cold down here!
The snow is covering lava... and you
can see the massive damage that it is
causing to the very foundations!

How long before Linux? (0, Flamebait)

MikeV (7307) | more than 5 years ago | (#25026993)

How long before someone with a spare $25k gets one and puts Linux on it? And suddenly it's running circles around the resource hog Micro$oft. Could prove embarrassing for Microsoft - tho they're used to embarrassment, and for Cray for letting Microsoft taint their hardware with Windows.

Obligatory nerd-sniveling response: (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25026995)

But does it run Vista???

(Insert unspecified number of "laughing out louds" while snickering with distinct nasally overtones.)

Desktop? (2, Informative)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027009)

From the article:

If space is a problem, not to worry, itâ(TM)s compact enough to fit in a broom closet.

From the summary:

... it would also be the most expensive desktop ever offered by Microsoft.

I know, the summary was an attempt to bash MS.

Idiot PHBs will buy this junk...sigh... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25027021)

Great...now even supercomputers can suffer from BSOD, viruses, trojans, etc. Yep, I sure wanna buy one of those...NOT. Only idiot PHBs, etc. will buy this junk.

BSOD (3, Funny)

alta (1263) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027025)

This thing is able to generate the BSOD faster than anything you've EVER imagined.

Re:BSOD (5, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027475)

It comes at you so fast, the BSOD is blue shifted to purple.

Re:BSOD (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25027637)

It comes at you so fast

Now cut the thing some slack, it's very young and unexperienced. This will correct itself with time.

Also, purple cum - the joys of virtual sex!

That's Performance (0, Flamebait)

MythoBeast (54294) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027039)

Now with Windows, we can give our supercomputer the same great performance of your desktop system! I really can't even imagine what they were thinking. This must be a MS subsidized sales gimmick.

Too dinosaurs working together. (1, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027049)

Why is Cray Supercomputing is a loosing strategy?

1. As standard computers increase they take over more and more of Super Computers jobs. Sure there may always be a need for something ahead of Mores Law but as more and more applications can be successfully run on standard computing hardware the need for super computers lessons. Back in Crays Hay Day Crays were used for all sorts of things businesses, education, etc... But now they are limited to more limited research.

2. Clouds and Clusters. Sure they may not be as good as a super computer for some jobs. However they can do the work that was previously limited to super computers only. Creating less demand.

3. Competition from more diverse companies. I hate to say it but IBM can afford to make the limited super computers for the reducing demand because they can make it up with mainframes and normal non-supercomputing big boxes.

Re:Too dinosaurs working together. (4, Funny)

kidde_valind (1060754) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027107)

Since the machine in question isn't even a supercomputer, but simply a cluster of blades, I'd say Cray has nothing to worry about.

Re:Too dinosaurs working together. (4, Insightful)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027333)

You have to realize that communication between nodes in a cluster of off the shelf PCs is going to be much slower than the inter-node communication channels used in a Cray.

Any work that requires a lot of communication will always run faster on a real supercomputer versus a cluster of PCs. There will always be a niche for Cray, but their prices will continue to go up as more and more of their repeat customers realize they don't really need what they're getting.

Re:Too dinosaurs working together. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027649)

Um not always, Unless you have a Super Computer and a cluster of equal processors, But for many cases Clusters have more CPU's then super computers, not all algorithms can be run in Parallel. So say you have a low end super computer of 50 processors (I did have 32 but I upped it to 50 to keep the math neat), and a cluster of 100 Quad core PC's. Now the program can be broken up into 400 segments but each segment will take 30 minutes to run and 10 minutes to send data back and 20 minutes to process and glue to gather the outputs. so 60 minutes. No for the Super Computer It takes those 400 elements and queues it on the processors at 50 at a time. Being faster Processors and bus. Lets say it takes 10 minutes each. 10*(400/50)=80 minutes sending the data back and putting them together is so fast that it doesn't matter so you have 80 minutes of processing vs. 60. It all depends on the calculation preformed. If you match Processor to Processor yes the supercomputer will win. However The more processors you tie together comes at a cost in money as the number of connections between the processors can be exponentional (If processor A and talk to X directly), While other methods may be cheaper it is at a cost of slowing communication between processors.
But for many modern applications even when the supercomputer is faster it may be a difference of waiting 10 minutes on the super computer and 20 minutes on a cluster. For most cases the extra 10 minutes may not be worth the expense.

Re:Too dinosaurs working together. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25027471)

Too Dinosaurs.

A Loosing strategy

Computers jobs

Mores Law

super computers lessons

I stopped reading at this point.

Re:Too dinosaurs working together. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25027681)

You have no idea what you're talking about.

1. Supercomputers will always be ahead of the commodity curve and there will always be applications that require them. Cray is not the only maker of supercomputers. Supercomputers are used in more than just academic research. Industry uses more than half of the supercomputers listed at http://www.top500.org/.

2. Uhh... no. There's a whole range of problem for which the latency of a cloud or cluster makes a supercomputer necessary. We've had clusters and distributed computing for years now and supercomputers are still around. In fact, you can do distributed computing with heterogeneous supercomputers. Now, which is better: a 'cloud' of commodity hardware; or a 'cloud' of supercomputers?

3. This is your only argument against Cray that might have any value.

And spell check, for f*@&s sake.

Alternatively... (1)

ProteusQ (665382) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027077)

If Cray would have spent the amount of time and money equivalent to what was put into this deal at their end by recoding FreeBSD to their needs, they could have rebranded the result as their own OS/hardware package a la Apple without all of the bugs and security holes that MS has brought to the table.

(And I'm a Linux guy! How hard is this stuff to figure out?!)

Re:Alternatively... (2, Informative)

bmajik (96670) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027555)

Cray have and have had their own custom UNIX distribution since before slashdot existed.

You can already get Linux on CRAY hardware -- the SGI Altix series. I haven't kept up on the offerings, but I beleive there are other *nix based offerings as well.

The value proposition of something like this is that people who are better at science than programming (you know, most super computer users) get something that makes them more productive than they'd otherwise be. The operating system on a super computer is almost irrelevant as it is customized so completely for the needs of the client. The value add in something like this is the developer productivity and toolchain on offer.

There are some seriously brainy people at MS working on the software side of HPC/scientific computing. Some of them are ex Cray employees.

Re:Alternatively... (2, Informative)

Dan9999 (679463) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027611)

well you know you can get red hat for it. and if you look up their other offerings, they do have real supercomputers with a modified BSD.

Poor Seymour (5, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027101)

The man is spinning in his grave!
Just let Cray pass into history.

Re:Poor Seymour (2, Funny)

haeger (85819) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027597)

I hear google has accuired his corpe and put coils around it. They plan to use it to power all their new data-havens.

.haeger

Oblig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25027111)

Yes, but will it run Linux?

And yes, here's a couple jokes (5, Funny)

Captain Spam (66120) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027173)

Everyone else has probably done the usual "how fast can a Cray show a BSoD?" gags, so all I was left with was:

  • "It looks like you're trying to solve complex multidimensional calculus to model atomic explosions! Need some help?"
  • "Hi, I'm a Mac." "And I'm a PC. And here's my 30-foot-tall friend, Big Cray, The Destroyer of Worlds. Kill, Big Cray, Kill!"

Windows and Supercomputer mutually exclusive. (0, Troll)

Jason1729 (561790) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027223)

So with windows bloat, won't this thing perform slightly slower than a Pentium 66 running the latest Ubuntu live CD? And does MS still charge per CPU? That $25,000 could be just for the OS.

A supercomputer from Microsoft? (0, Flamebait)

kawabago (551139) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027261)

Isn't that an oxymoron? With multiple cores does it give a full color screen of death?

At last... (0, Redundant)

bbroerman (715822) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027313)

We finally see the minimum recommended hardware spec for the next version of Windows... And I thought Vista was a resource hog. Talk about code bloat!

Cray.com problems using Firefox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25027389)

Cray has become so Microsoft that you can't configure your CX1 using FF! Check it out yourself here [cray.com] .

Something funny about big iron (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25027437)

I've put Linux on both Mainframes and Supercomputers. What's really funny on those systems is the following:

      echo b > /proc/sysrq-trigger

That's right, you can basically do a "Control-ALT-DEL" and reboot the great big box.

This really annoys the old farts.

Apple Lisa (1)

martinw89 (1229324) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027441)

The Apple Lisa would cost about $20,000 in today's money. The two aren't related, but the jokes about a $25,000 desktop made me think of when PCs really did cost a whole lot. Just food for thought =)

(And yes, I am perfectly aware that the Lisa was a failure)

these are Cray branded Walmart PC's (1)

heroine (1220) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027579)

These are just standard issue Intel PC's wired up in a cluster like every other modern supercomputer & sold under the Cray brand.

Windows - finally - just like Unix! (2, Funny)

lawman508 (969924) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027601)

Resistance is futile - you will be assimilated! A final nail in the coffin for traditional Unix. Now, Microsoft scales from tiny devices running in watches, to super-computers! Even changes to Windows 2008 servers allow administrators to run the OS on routers (without a UI, even solitare is removed). The arguments for Unix in any data center are almost gone.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25027659)

it only takes .000000000000000000000000000001 seconds to crash and display a blue screen of death, instead of the usual 3 minutes.

Cray is dead. (2, Interesting)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 5 years ago | (#25027669)

Cray is just barely more relevant to modern HPC than Silicon Graphics. Whether they're making a PC that runs Linux or a PC that runs Windows, it's still a PC. Yes, a massively parallel one, but it's a PC. The XMT series is the only really innovative thing that distinguishes Cray from the next guy down the street.

Computing has come to the point where commodity hardware can be almost endlessly strung together with commodity equipment to achieve the computing level necessary for most purposes. Furthermore, in the rare cases where it's necessary to go beyond this level, the cost of building a custom machine that outperforms commodity equipment is roughly one to two orders of magnitude more. Bottom line, it's just not cost effective for almost anyone to buy the cool high-end non-commodity gear anymore.

Which means that Cray will be reduced to a company that makes interconnects, like SGI is. Neat engineering, but the interconnects are now becoming commodity gear as well, which means that these companies won't be able to make enough profit to keep engineering as the focus of the company. They'll be forced into being a support/service company of their commodity hardware sold at a meagre 5% profit margin.

The one escape is gone as well--pushing Linux and Windows and the primary (or only) OSes means that they won't have anything special to offer. If, for instance, SGI had aggressively driven Irix, things might have been different for them.

The last front for development in current computing is in the labs of Intel and AMD, working on commodity gear. The days of boutique computing are dying.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...