12 October 2009

Windows Does Not Scale

Who's afraid of the data deluge?

Researchers and workers in fields as diverse as bio-technology, astronomy and computer science will soon find themselves overwhelmed with information. Better telescopes and genome sequencers are as much to blame for this data glut as are faster computers and bigger hard drives.

While consumers are just starting to comprehend the idea of buying external hard drives for the home capable of storing a terabyte of data, computer scientists need to grapple with data sets thousands of times as large and growing ever larger. (A single terabyte equals 1,000 gigabytes and could store about 1,000 copies of the Encyclopedia Britannica.)

The next generation of computer scientists has to think in terms of what could be described as Internet scale. Facebook, for example, uses more than 1 petabyte of storage space to manage its users’ 40 billion photos. (A petabyte is about 1,000 times as large as a terabyte, and could store about 500 billion pages of text.)

Certainly not GNU/Linux: the latest Top500 supercomputer rankings show that the GNU/Linux family has 88.60%. Windows? Glad you asked: 1%.

So, forget about whether there will ever be a Year of the GNU/Linux Desktop: the future is about massive data-crunchers, and there GNU/Linux already reigns supreme, and has done for years. It's Windows that's got problems....

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Unknown said...

I have to admit to wondering why Ballmer is ever trying to get into this business? In my opinion, Microsoft shows a lack of focus. Concentrate on the essentials (Windows, Office), and deliver the best product you can. Rather than doing that they get into HP computing, and deliver Windows Vista (and mess up ODF support).

Pretty sad.

Glyn Moody said...

I think it's almost a matter of honour: GNU/Linux utterly trounces Windows here, and Ballmer et al. just can't let that stand. Alas, their efforts only prove that Windows is incapable of scaling...