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Microsoft Has Released Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 Suite

by Abel Avram on Sep 21, 2010 |

Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 Suite is the latest HPC solution from Microsoft in the technical computing initiative called Modeling the World. Some of the new features include: workstations clusters, accessing the cloud, using SOA, services for Excel, and GPU support.

HPC Server 2008 R2 comes with several major improvements over the previous version, HPC Server 2008, announced two years ago. One is the fact that developers can write HPC applications that can be deployed on workstations, extended to intranet servers, and then going into the cloud. Enterprises may have hundreds or thousands of workstations which are not used especially during the night. They can be organized in clusters and configured to be used for parallel applications when they are usually idle. The owner of the workstation establishes what privileges the HPC application will have when running. Workstation clusters can also be used for testing purposes during the development of an applications.

When the common HPC scenario, using clusters of servers, does not provide enough processing power, with HPC Server 2008 R2 customers can tap into the cloud to benefit from accessing even more computing resources. Beside that, developers can build distributed, loosely coupled SOA applications by having:

  • A service-oriented programming model for developing HPC web service based on the Windows Communication Foundation (WCF).

  • A cluster SOA debugger and cluster SOA profiler for building high performing, robust HPC SOA applications.

  • Support for business-critical SOA applications through multiple techniques including durable and reattachable sessions, persistent requests and responses, automatic failover of failed SOA sessions fire-and-recollect programming model, and auto-restart of broker nodes.

  • New Service-balanced scheduling policy so that as many SOA jobs are started as soon as possible― important jobs are not starved behind a few large resource-intensive jobs.

HPC Services for Excel 2010 is another new feature helping to process large Excel spreadsheets and multiple User Defined Functions (UDFs) on HPC clusters. These services can be integrated into a service oriented architecture.

For developers HPC Server 2008 R2 brings:

  • Support for developing MPI-based application including MPI cluster debugger.

  • Support for developing SOA-based applications including cluster SOA debugger and profiler.

  • Parallel LINQ and Task Parallel Library (TPL), included in .NET Framework 4.0

  • Parallel Patterns Library (PPL) and Asynchronous Agents Library included with Visual C++ 10.

  • Support for GPGPU programming in partnership with NVIDIA.

According to Microsoft, HPC Server 2008 R2 scales better, the Heat Map being able to show the status of 1,000 nodes without paging or scrolling, but it can extend beyond 1,000 nodes with specific tuning. It also supports RDMA over Ethernet (iWARP) from Intel and RDMA over InfiniBand quad data rate (40Gbps) hardware. It is also optimized for the Intel Nehalem processor micro-architecture.

The HPC Server 2008 R2 Suite website contains more details on what’s new

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