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Open Source IT: Beowulf: Supercomputers for the Masses

Jul 28, 2000, 14:37 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jason Compton)

[ Thanks to Dan Orzech for this link. ]

"Beowulf may be in its infancy, but it is a baby that's getting a lot of attention. Even companies like Compaq Computer Corp., which has its own high-end clustering systems -- thanks to its acquisition of Digital Equipment Corp. -- aggressively markets Beowulf. While Compaq will gladly sell a customer TruCluster for Tru64 UNIX, Beowulf systems, particularly those based around the floating point-friendly Alpha chip, have been good business for Compaq. Some customers are using "literally thousands of Compaq Alpha servers with Beowulf," says Glenn Johnson, Director of Compaq's Linux Program Office."

"Compaq's participation in the Beowulf market is as easy to understand as the appeal of the clusters to its customers. "Any industry that has a computational problem that can be parallelized is looking at Beowulf because you can assemble a hell of a lot of gigaflops for not a lot of money," says Johnson."

"...some vendors are now seeing corporate customers who are taking a serious look at Beowulf for their "heavy hardware" needs. "We are seeing a big shift—it's the product lifecycle," says Brad Rutledge, public relations director for Linux NetworX. "We think Linux as well as clustering is going from the techie to the early-adopter stage," attracting companies that can afford to take technology bets in exchange for the price advantages and power of Beowulf systems."

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