Posted by Sandy Gupta
General Manager, Open Solutions Group

This past week I had the pleasure of participating in the International Supercomputing (ISC) 2011 event in Hamburg, Germany. This event has always been a great venue for hearing the latest trends in high performance computing (HPC) and the overall IT industry. This year was no exception with the award to the "K computer" as the fastest computer in the world and some great keynotes and breakout sessions.

On Monday, IDC Analysts Earl Joseph and Steve Conway presented their insights relative to HPC barriers for adoption in the enterprise, citing management solutions and ease of use as the two top requirements. This caught my attention, since my own presentation at the mid-market workshop discussed some of the interoperable solutions my team – the Open Solutions Group at Microsoft – has developed with Linux and other open source based vendors or communities. One example I like to share is the work we have done with BridgeWays to allow System Center Operations Manager to monitor a number of open source and other non-Microsoft software in a single pane of glass. I talked about our partnerships with Adaptive Computing and SUSE (formerly Novell), which allow customers to run a hybrid Windows + Linux cluster and also shared some related case studies.

For me, the highlight of the conference was the Interoperability and Openness Whitepaper authored by Professor Ulrich Trottenberg, Director of  of Fraunhofer institute of Algorithms and Scientific Computing (SCAI) and HOST SCHWICHTENBERG, which is responsible for the IT at SCAI. This whitepaper both defines openness and discusses how vendors should work with each other to solve some of the complexity within today’s heterogeneous IT environments. The paper showcases the work done by Microsoft and SUSE in providing solutions for the extremely complex heterogeneous infrastructure the Fraunhofer SCAI institute has for modeling simulations in HPC environments. It details the proof of concept Fraunhofer institute set up initially, and describes how the resulting joint Microsoft and SUSE solution has helped to address some of the Institute’s primary interoperability challenges.

The paper asserts that software companies have to be willing to work with each other across technical, legal and ideological ways and live this openness by supporting standards, implementing “interoperability”, sharing information, contributing to communities and listening to customers. It is great to see the work done by my team here within the Open Solutions Group at Microsoft through our collaboration efforts with SUSE cited as an example of these openness concepts.

In closing, as some of us who were on the ground in Hamburg believe, ISC is a great forum for cutting-edge information that can readily be applied to the enterprise arena.