32-bit remains chip of choice

In 1994, the Beowulf Project (www.beowulf.org) spawned the prototype commodity server-based cluster. It used Intel Corp. DX4 processors, the fastest member of the company's second-generation 32-bit processor family.

Nearly a decade later, 32-bit technology still rules in the clustering market, despite the advent of such 64-bit offerings as Intel's Itanium line and Advanced Micro Devices Inc.'s Opteron processors.

"Where customers are deploying is all around 32-bit architectures," said Steve Norall, general manager of Linux solutions at PolyServe Inc. PolyServe has been shipping Linux clustering software for a little more than a year and is beta testing a Microsoft Corp. Windows clustering product. "I really think the economics of 32-bit architecture...are really compelling to customers today," he said.

"What we are finding is that people talk a lot" about 64-bit, added Paul Barker, vice president of marketing at RLX Technologies Inc. "But practically speaking, when you take a look at high- performance computing clusters, it's still very much a 32-bit world."

Industry executives said 32-bit chips enjoy a price/performance edge over 64-bit technology. Barker noted that porting and testing are more affordable in the 32-bit realm.

Norall said 64-bit architectures are getting the closest look from customers who have memory-intensive applications. "Some customers are kicking the tires on 64-bit architectures," he said.

The Fed 100

Read the profiles of all this year's winners.

Featured

  • Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump at a 2016 campaign event. Image: Shutterstock

    'Buy American' order puts procurement in the spotlight

    Some IT contractors are worried that the "buy American" executive order from President Trump could squeeze key innovators out of the market.

  • OMB chief Mick Mulvaney, shown here in as a member of Congress in 2013. (Photo credit Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

    White House taps old policies for new government makeover

    New guidance from OMB advises agencies to use shared services, GWACs and federal schedules for acquisition, and to leverage IT wherever possible in restructuring plans.

  • Shutterstock image (by Everett Historical): aerial of the Pentagon.

    What DOD's next CIO will have to deal with

    It could be months before the Defense Department has a new CIO, and he or she will face a host of organizational and operational challenges from Day One

  • USAF Gen. John Hyten

    General: Cyber Command needs new platform before NSA split

    U.S. Cyber Command should be elevated to a full combatant command as soon as possible, the head of Strategic Command told Congress, but it cannot be separated from the NSA until it has its own cyber platform.

  • Image from Shutterstock.

    DLA goes virtual

    The Defense Logistics Agency is in the midst of an ambitious campaign to eliminate its IT infrastructure and transition to using exclusively shared, hosted and virtual services.

  • Fed 100 logo

    The 2017 Federal 100

    The women and men who make up this year's Fed 100 are proof positive of what one person can make possibile in federal IT. Read on to learn more about each and every winner's accomplishments.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group