The dramatic shift is attributed to faster processors and better design, but also to the increasing involvement of major companies like Microsoft.
"Microsoft is making a huge push into HPC, which is an indication of just how mainstream it is getting," John Lee, vice president of advanced technology solutions at HPC specialist Appro, told vnunet.com.
Another sign, according to Lee, was when supercomputer manufacturer Cray entered the market with a small HPC running Windows and Linux. "It is amazing when you think about it," he said.
Lee explained that when Bill Gates gave the keynote address at the Supercomputing Conference in Seattle in 2005 it was a major signal that Microsoft was gunning for the HPC market and that it had made steady progress.
Appro has made some of the fastest supercomputers in the world for clients such as the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, but is now selling HPC systems to increasing numbers of mainstream clients.
"HPC is definitely becoming mainstream," Burke Banda, US marketing manager for servers and workstations at AMD, told vnunet.com.
"I have seen some data which suggests that as many as one in 10 new system builds is destined for a cloud computing environment."
High-performance computing enters the mainstream
By Iain Thomson on Nov 8, 2008 7:15AM