The Highest-Performing Version of Windows Ever

Microsoft's play in the world of high-performance computing doesn't get the same attention as Vista, Bill Gates' wealth or attempts to buy Yahoo. And that's a shame because Microsoft has been doing some rather exceptional work in this area, with much of the innovation coming directly from the geniuses at Microsoft Research.

The core product here is Windows High Performance Computing (HPC) Server 2008, which was just completed.

Tools like these have been mostly used by scientists and engineers, and for massive data-mining-type apps. But as the world starts thinking more about cloud computing and IT thinks about building internal clouds, what used to be the domain of the supercomputer intelligentsia could become standard datacenter fare.

Think Windows HPC doesn't have the juice for this kind of computing? Think again. Cray thinks the software is good enough to drive its supercomputers. Not too shabby.

Microsoft Thinks Its Stock Is a Bargain
Microsoft's stock is not the high-flier it was throughout the late '80s and early '90s. Many investors earned their yachts, Porsches and retirement homes on the backs of this baby. And thousands of employees became Microsoft millionaires, driving the prices of homes in Redmond to near-Silicon Valley heights.

Since the tech crash of 2001, the stock has been stuck. Like a rocking chair, it's going nowhere. But Microsoft thinks its own company is a pretty good deal and is buying back $40 billion in shares. That's like buying a Yahoo's worth of stock. And that's on top of the $40 billion buyback already completed.

I'm no Wall Street whiz (and neither, apparently, are they), but this seems like a good long-term move. It acknowledges that Microsoft is now a mature, less volatile stock. It means there's stability and sound financial underpinnings. Oh, how I wish Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates had been running Lehman, AIG and Merrill Lynch!

During the tech crash in 2001, there were no federal bailouts -- and our business came through just fine. Investors (like you and me, I'm sure) who lost money took our lumps and went on. What lessons should we have learned from the tech bubble burst that we can apply to today's Wall Street meltdown? Thoughts welcome at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Speak Out on VMware and Chrome
I'm doing two articles that I may want to quote you on. The first is about Chrome, which we've talked about quite a bit. I'm writing a Reader Review, which means you and your peers are the actual reviewers. Share your Chrome thoughts by writing me at dbarney@redmondmag.com. Over a dozen already have.

The second article is about VMware and its plans for a datacenter operating system, one that promises to turn all your x86 servers, network connections and storage into a single utility. The company claims 70 percent of this functionality is already in place. VMware users and others can contact me at dbarney@redmondmag.com and I'll shoot you a bunch of questions.

Both of these articles show how Redmond magazine is driven by readers as much as it is by our writers and editors. So thanks!

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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