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Unclusters: A New Trend?

by Addison Snell
for Intersect360 Research (originally published under the Tabor Research name)
Aug 17, 2007

In describing the HPC industry’s adoption of clusters, my friend and colleague Chris Willard recently said, “The revolution is over. The revolutionaries won.”

That’s pretty much right. It’s almost to the point where “HPC cluster” is redundant. Most systems – unless they are very small – are run as clusters. Major vendors switched over their product emphases, and there has been a proliferation of smaller HPC cluster vendors specializing in Linux for the last 10+ years.

Another compelling trend has been the industry’s move away from HPC-specific architectures. With a few notable exceptions (e.g., Cray XT4, SGI Altix, IBM Blue Gene, and arguably various offerings from Linux Networx), the server products used in HPC are the same products used in enterprise computing. They may be repackaged or reconfigured for HPC, but the underlying R&D is leveraged across a broader market.

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