I'm back from Brussels, the trip I hinted at in a post last week.  It was a fantastic visit to a country I hadn't visited before, and I really did an injustice by not extending my visit a little longer. 

The customer I visited, the Chemical Engineering department at the  Universite Libre de Bruxelles, shared a great story with me of how they're using Compute Cluster Server.  They explained it to me like this:  "We're chemical engineers, not computer engineers.  We tried a few different operating systems for our research projects, but we decided to use Windows for our high performance computing project because of our familiarity with the interface and the broad hardware compatibility."

What they showed me was 4 HP quad proc, dual core machines configured as a compute cluster.  That's 32 processors all working together to calculate some complex fluid dynamics formulas.  They tell me they got the system up and running in just a day.  Calculations that used to run for days are now completed in hours, and other now calculations that simply weren't possible at all with their other systems can be completed.  They also said the system has simplified their work, so they can now kick off calculations after just a few minutes in front of a computer, instead of hours, giving them more time to spend on other projects.

I'm actually writing this entry from the airport - I'm on my way to visit another customer with another great story of how Microsoft software has helped them be successful. 

Where am I going this time?  Hmm.  It's an island country with a penchant for sheep and rugby. 

For those of you keeping track at home, this makes 4 weeks out of the last 5 I've been on the road, and by my count I have 2 more trips to make in the next month.  I really enjoy getting out of the ivory tower of Redmond and talking to real customers about real work!  I was an IT Pro before joining Microsoft, and spent most of my career on site at customers working with IT Pros, so these trips take me back to my roots.  I'm looking forward to doing more.

Are you doing something cool with something new(ish) from Microsoft?  Either something that we just shipped in the last 8 months, or something in beta?  Tell me about it - You might end up on my list of customers to visit!