For the fastest and most reliable high-end computing for your
enterprise, will your operating system be 1) Linux, 2) Solaris, 3)
OpenVMS or 4) Windows?

If you answered Linux, give yourself 10 points; Solaris, 9 points;
OpenVMS, 8 points; Windows -- pardon me, what are you doing in this
class? Remedial IT is down the hall. Just listen for the chorus of
"Are you sure your PC's power cord is plugged into the wall socket?"
You can't miss it.

Microsoft, after spending decades paying no real attention to high-
performance computing, wants to be an HPC player with the release of
HPC Server 2008. Can you believe it? Yes, there was Windows Compute
Cluster Server 2003. After a long search, I found one user. He told
me, "Updates that require reboots are far too frequent for production-
use systems," "Jobs randomly crash," and "Few HPC applications
actually support Windows compute nodes."

[Server 2008 best Windows server to date, but]. -- it also has all of
Windows' historical baggage of bugs and bloat. In addition, HPC
Server 2008 requires signed drivers.

Now take Linux. More than 80% of the world's fastest supercomputers
already run Linux. Many of the major stock exchanges are switching
over to Linux, usually from Solaris. To the best of my knowledge, the
only important stock exchange that runs Windows is London's. You know,
the one that crashed for an entire day a few weeks back. Flops like
that sure make me want to put my enterprise's most important high-
speed computing on Windows. Yes, indeed....

Despite all this, I've been reading comparisons between Windows HPC
and the just-announced Red Hat HPC Solution... The discussion has been
focusing on the license fees. Excuse me?

While looking at the real price of software is always interesting if
you're a CIO or CFO -- especially when it's Microsoft's maze of
Enterprise Assurance maintenance agreements and Client Access Licenses
-- let's get real. Windows often requires you to reboot for major
updates. Linux doesn't. Let's say you need to reboot, as a matter of
course, six times a year with Windows HPC. With Linux, you
don't....there's no way you, or anyone else, can afford Microsoft HPC
Server 2008.