IBM is offering interested users a sub-$100 (£55) test trial of Microsoft's Windows HPC Server 2008 supercomputer operating system. The so-called 'test drives' will be provided through IBM's Computing on Demand facilities.
Microsoft released HPC Server 2008 to manufacturing on 22 September, pitching it firmly at large firms looking for an easy-to-deploy, cost-effective and scalable high-performance computing product.
However, IBM will look to offer the release to smaller firms. The company said that its cloud computing services will be the virtual platform for the trials, and that it will offer HPC Server 2008 test drives in units of 14 to 16 nodes on IBM BladeCenter or System x servers featuring Intel Xeon multi-core processors.
The trial is expected to be taken up by companies that desire high levels of computing power, but do not have the resources to deal with them.
"With the Computing on Demand facility, Microsoft and IBM are delivering supercomputing performance to companies that could not previously afford it or never had access to it," said Vince Mendillo, director of high performance computing marketing at Microsoft.
IBM will also make its Deep Computing Visualization 3D visualisation engine available through the cloud, and has plans to introduce a new-look web portal interface and a number of other administration features.
The firm said that automation tools would "help ensure that authorised resources are dynamically provisioned into a secure virtual LAN for the client to access at the committed start time, significantly streamlining the on-demand process".
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