Skip to comments.Linux continues to rule supercomputers
Posted on 06/19/2013 6:32:17 AM PDT by ShadowAce
The June 2013 Top500 supercomputer list is in, and 476 of the top 500 fastest supercomputers in the world run Linux.
Whether you measure supercomputing by
number of systems or overall performance, Linux rules.
Is that good enough for you? While Linux fans and critics obsess about Linux's failure to sweep Windows off the desktop, they're ignoring that Linux is winning everywhere else, and that when it comes to the highest of high-end computing, Linux rules.
Driving the point home, the top 10 fastest supercomputers all run Linux of one sort or the other. You have to go the way to the 44th fastest computer, the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts box, which runs IBM's AIX Unix variant, to find one that doesn't run Linux.
Windows? A mere three supercomputers run Windows. The fastest of these, Magic Cube at the Shanghai Supercomputer Center, which runs Windows High Performance Computing (HPC) 2008, placed 187th in the world.
What's interesting about this latest list isn't that Linux dominates. That's become a matter of course. When it comes to supercomputing, Linux rules. It's that simple.
Nor is it that China currently has the fastest supercomputer in the world. China has been working hard on catching up with the West in HPC.
No, the real surprise is that the Tianhe-2 (aka "Milky Way 2"), with its performance of 33.86 petaflop/s on the Linpack benchmark, came in with more than twice the performance of the top-rated system at the end of November 2012, and it did it on Intel chips.
Intel has long been well represented in supercomputers, but hasn't seized the top spot since 1997. The Milky Way 2, which won it the title, is powered by 32,000 of the 12-core Intel Xeon processors E5-2600 v2 based on Ivy Bridge architecture, and 48,000 Intel Xeon Phi co-processors, with a total system power of 17.8 megawatts. Intel claims that not only is Milky Way 2 "the fastest, but [it's] also one of the most power-efficient systems on the Top500 list."
Intel plans on keeping both the fastest and most power-efficient titles in the future with a new generation of Xeon Phi "Knight's Landing" chips. The company also wants to keep its dominance of the market as a whole. Just over 80 percent 403 computers out of the Top500 now use Intel processors.
Regardless of the hardware, when it comes to supercomputer dominance, the real champion is Linux. No matter what the architecture, the world's fastest computers run Linux, and there's no reason to think that will change anytime soon.
I know how to defeat Linux.
Have Microsoft purchase the rights.
It’ll be toast in a couple of years.
But, if possible, that would be the way to do it.
I guess I’ll have to put my Commodore Pet to sleep.
The "rights" to Linux is distributed among hundreds, or even thousands of individual contributors.
Microsoft would have to buy out every one of them, or remove their contributions and rewrite them.
Sorry but you just demonstrated that you don’t understand what Linux is. This isn’t possible.
Also, if you include other operating systems that use the Linux kernel (Android), along with other products driven by Linux (routers, etc.), then Linux is by far the most pervasive OS on the planet.
Why would you *want* it to be “toast”?
Yeah--because we all know that the cost of the OS is quite significant when compared to the cost of the 17.4 megawatts it takes to power the thing.
Do I really need the /s?
However, I'm seeing the server market being taken over by Linux, especially in the cloud computing sector. Companies are migrating to their own VMware clusters or using a cloud service like Amazon. Microsoft's licensing terms make it a no-brainer -- when you can create a Linux image and clone it at will, you don't have to worry about license compliance and paying an additional fee every time you do it.
Windows Server is only being used for applications that haven't yet been ported to Linux, or for legacy systems they haven't been able to retire or convert. Yes, there are exceptions in some companies, but only because they haven't overcome the inertia. It won't be long before Microsoft Server applications will be considered the same way as mainframe apps were viewed 10-20 years ago: dinosaurs.
Microsoft can keep adding functionality and features, but the reality is that few people actually login to a server. Most of the processing is client/server. My current client doesn't even bother to put a GUI on their Linux servers: all the installation is done with SSH and a command shell. Most administration for Websphere, Weblogic, etc. is done with a web browser running someplace else.
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