Windows Compute Cluster Edition or CCE is the Windows Server SKU targeting High Performance Computing (HPC). If you type www.microsoft.com/hpc into your favorite browser's address bar it will take you to the Microsoft HPC website. BTW, the official name of the current SKU is Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 (CCS). The website positions the product as follows:
"Microsoft Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 (CCS) brings the supercomputing power of high-performance computing (HPC) to the desktop and workgroup level in a familiar Windows-based development environment. CCS accelerates time-to-insight by providing an HPC platform that is easy to deploy, operate, and integrate with existing infrastructure and tools."
So, is it a special build of the OS? How's the support policy? What about patching?
- CCS and Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition share the same code base
- Patches and security updates applicable for Windows Server 2003 also apply for CCS
- CCS is only available in 64-bit
- CCS has its own licensing terms
- CCS may not be used for something else but HPC!
In short it is a version of Standard Server where licensing terms prevent usage scenarios outside of HPC. For a full explanation and exact clarification of differences and similarities, please also check the attached PDF.