While IBM has its own middleware, the advantage of the Microsoft software, according to IBM, is that it provides a familiar operating interface, thereby reducing training costs. In addition, IBM expanded the server, storage, and networking options for its System Cluster 1350.
High-performance cluster systems range from a few to thousands of severs woven together to act as one computer. IBM's latest offering targets the midmarket in life sciences, computer-aided engineering, and financial services.
Options available with the Microsoft Cluster Server-based system include IBM BladeCenter and System x servers, which feature multicore and dual-core process from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices. IBM is also offering as an option its System Storage and Ethernet and InfiniBand switches from Cisco Systems, SMC and Voltaire.
Pricing for the latest cluster system will depend upon the configuration, IBM said.
As an example of how the two companies are working together, Microsoft researchers are using Cluster Server 2003 on the IBM system in providing a high-performance computer for medical researchers working on an AIDS vaccine, the companies said in a joint statement.
Be it for large or small operations, IBM is heavily focused on supercomputing. The company's high-performance machines comprise close to half of the 50 fastest computers in the world, according to the Top500 supercomputer list released this week at the International Supercomputer Conference in Dresden, Germany.
This week, IBM introduced the second generation of its Blue Gene supercomputer, adding features aimed at making the system more useful to commercial customers. Besides making the Blue Gene/P considerably faster than the previous version, IBM also made application development for the system easier.