Red Hat undercuts Microsoft on high-performance OS pricing

Red Hat released a high-performance Linux OS stack that undercuts Microsoft on price for its comparable Windows offering.

Red Hat Thursday released a Linux software stack for compute-intensive IT environments that it said costs less than Microsoft's price for its comparable Windows offering.

Red Hat charges a subscription of US$249 per node, or server, per year for Red Hat HPC Solution, a new offering that combines Red Hat Enterprise Linux with Platform Open Cluster Stack 5, clustering software it has licensed from Platform Computing.

Red Hat HPC Solution also includes device drivers, a cluster installer, cluster-management tools, a resource and application monitor, interconnect support and a job scheduler. The yearly subscription also includes ongoing technical support, bug fixes and any future software updates, said product marketing manager Gerry Riveros.

Comparably, Microsoft's Windows HPC Server 2008, which also combines the OS with components needed for clustering and managing the HPC environment, costs a one-time fee of US$475 per node, which on the surface seems less expensive than Red Hat's offering.

However, to get maintenance and software updates, Microsoft requires that enterprise customers purchase an Enterprise Assurance (EA) maintenance agreement for three years. Though Microsoft will not disclose publicly what those agreements cost, those familiar with them said they typically cost about 25 percent to 29 percent of the price of the product.

Factoring in the cost of the EA, the cost of one Windows HPC 2008 Server over three years would be more than US$800, while a comparable HPC offering from Red Hat is about $750.

Through its public relations firm, Microsoft Thursday declined to provide estimates about how much Windows HPC Server 2008 will cost over three years for customers beyond the per-node pricing, saying that information will be available on its Web site on November 1.

Customers who require HPC environments perform tasks such as data modeling or complex, computer-generated simulation that require complex computational power.

Before Thursday, Red Hat offered only a version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux for HPC environments; customers have to assemble other components of the software needed to build a full-scale HPC environment themselves, Riveros said.

He acknowledged that pressure from Microsoft in the HPC market inspired the company to sell an all-in-one offering for a competitive price. Customers, too, asked Red Hat to combine the components with the OS to make for easier deployment and management, he said.

"We wanted to remove the chief roadblocks, the whole hassle of trying to put it together themselves," Riveros said.

Linux is the OS most used for HPC environments and has been dominant in the market for some time. However, over the past several years Microsoft -- a relative newcomer to the space -- has stepped up its efforts because the company wants people to use Windows in that market.

Last month Microsoft released to manufacturing Windows HPC Server 2008 as a complete bundle for deploying and managing high-performance clusters at what it claims is a competitive price. Microsoft and Cray also last month unveiled a US$25,000 personal supercomputer, the Cray CX1, that they said will give people an HPC environment at their desktop.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Red Hat HPC Solution

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Elizabeth Montalbano

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?