ZDNet: Customizaton, Costs Key to Linux HPC Dominance

Excerpt: Linux...allows vendors to build a price-competitive machine faster than when using proprietary operating systems, Amanda McPherson, vice president of marketing and developer programs at The Linux Foundation, pointed out.

The executive said in her e-mail that supercomputers are generally custom-designed and deeply tuned for the specific workload, very expensive, and have low sales volumes. This is why the open source operating system's low cost appeals to IT vendors.

"With Linux, anyone can see and optimize the source code, and work done by one company can be extremely beneficial for others. After all, about 90 percent of the kernel is architecture-agnostic. When selling a supercomputer, the time to first boot is critically intertwined with profitability," McPherson explained.

By contrast, commercial servers are like assembly lines where vendors figure out what the customers need, pick a suitable OS and system, and churn out machines that are optimized for most of the identified workloads, she said.

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