Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Where Was HPC?

Nathan Trueblood, John Powers, and I went to the Windows Server 2008 launch last week (of course, we had to show off our shiny new Certified for Server 2008 logo).

It was surprisingly well attended (and I wasn't the only one who was surprised; apparently the catering staff was as well. In the continuing battle of Microsoft vs. Ciruli on the lunch front, I lost -- no lunch for me. How hard is it to count attendees at an event that requires pre-registration??).

Anyway, there were thousands of people there. We had hundreds walking around with the cool-looking Digipede stickers, and one lucky sticker-wearer went home with an XBox.

With a triple-product launch, Microsoft had an enormous contingent there, both attending and demonstrating. In the Microsoft pavilion, they had 30 booths -- most of them centered around Server 2008. Many of those booths weren't for products that were launching: SharePoint Server was there, Microsoft Forefront, Exchange Server. Many of the booths were related to Server 2008: Hyper-V, File and Storage Solutions for Server 2008, Scalability with Server 2008.

But you know what had no mention at all? HPC Server 2008.

It was conspicuous in its absence.

Now, HPC Server 2008 won't be out for months...then again, neither will SQL Server 2008 and it was launched at this event.

So, what's the deal? While I think HPC Server 2008 will go far beyond what Windows Server 2003 CCE did (both in terms of capabilities and sales), missing an event like this shows that Microsoft still isn't thinking of the server market as a continuum. They're dividing server users into HPC (high performance computing) and what may as well be called LPC (low performance computing).

In reality, of course, there's no strict division. It's a continuum. And Microsoft should be doing everything it can to bridge the gap between HPC and "the rest of us." As Jim Gray used to refer to it: Indoor Computing. It runs the gamut.

I guess the HPC crew are huddled in Redmond, preparing for their release later this year...too bad they couldn't find the time to market to the thousands of Windows Server fans who gathered in LA last week.