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HPC: It Is All About You

Trying to get a handle on the HPC community and market has always been difficult. The professional market forecasters seem to paint a rosy picture for HPC over the next five years. But, when I talk to people in the market, I often get a different take.

Trying to get a handle on the HPC community and market has always been difficult. The professional market forecasters seem to paint a rosy picture for HPC over the next five years. But, when I talk to people in the market, I often get a different take. For this reason, I like to ask people about how they use clusters and in particular I like to ask them about their pain points (or challenges if you prefer a more positive spin).

To help get a feel for the community’s take on the state and future of HPC the Today’s HPC Cluster site has a set of polls. I should mention that I don’t consider casual Web site polls to provide a definitive source, but rather a general feel for the issues. In addition, I like to see at least 100 responses to a poll.

As the current polls have been up for a while, I thought I would check the results (if you vote you see the results). The front page poll has two questions about physical issues and staffing. The response rate was within my “well I guess that is enough to draw a general conclusion” range.

There are a total of six poll questions (two on each main page). I thought the questions were interesting, not because I thought them up, but because no one ever seems to ask these kind of questions. I broke one of my cardinal grammar rules for the sake of space on a Web page! I ended two questions with prepositions for crying out loud, I must be getting weak.

The lack of response posits several scenarios. My list is below. I am sure there are other reasons, but these are the ones that I will start with. (Did you catch that one?)


  • Visitors only read the stories on the first/front page.

  • Visitors can’t find the other pages.

  • Our front page gets it’s 30 seconds of web eyes and clicks and visitors move on

  • The stories on the other pages suck, although the comments don’t seem to support this one.

  • Visitors don’t care about managing or building clusters.

  • The polls are assumed to be the same, so they are ignored.

  • The important questions are not in the polls, questions like “Do you think Brittney will be on Dr. Phil?” are missing.

In any case, if you have comments, thoughts, or ideas about polls, article topics, the Web site, or Dr. Phil, add a comment below. It is all about you and building a resource to support this community.

I hope, after this polite prodding, we’ll get some more votes in the polls. Then, just maybe we can all get a better sense of where we are and where we need to go. If we scream loud enough, perhaps a vendor will notice and offer a product.

Or, if enough people share a common challenge, then maybe they can work together toward a solution. And remember, your input to the polls is very important. As I always say, “If you want to know how deep the manure is, ask the guy wearin’ boots.”

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