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InfoQ Homepage News Introducing Windows HPC Server 2008

Introducing Windows HPC Server 2008

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Windows HPC Server 2008 is a new version of the Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003. The first version was built primarily to support clustering, job scheduling, and MPI 2 based applications.

In addition to improvements in MPI performance and the job scheduler, HPC Server 2008 boasts a new management interface. The interface supports both a GUI and the PowerShell scripting language. The below list comes from the Beta 1 documentation:

  • Systems Management
    • New admin console based on System Center UI framework integrates every aspect of cluster management
    • Node grouping allows administrators to categorize and batch operations on compute nodes
    • Monitoring heat map allows viewing cluster status at-a-glance
    • Scriptable control of cluster using Windows PowerShell and other command-line tools
    • High availability for multiple head nodes
    • Improved compute node provisioning using Windows Deployment Services
    • Built-in support for cluster-wide updating
    • Built-in system diagnostics
    • Built-in cluster reporting
    • Extensible reporting, allowing for job scheduling analysis using external database tools like SQL Server Analysis Services
    • System Center Operations Manager 2007 Management Pack
  • Job Scheduling
    • Integration with the Windows Communication Foundation, allowing SOA application developers to harness the power of parallel computing offered by HPC solutions
    • Job scheduling granularity at processor core, processor socket, and compute node levels
    • Performance improvements for large clusters
    • Support for external databases for Job Scheduling database
    • New job scheduling policies
    • Support for Open Grid Forum’s HPC-Basic Profile interface
  • Networking and MPI
    • Network Direct, providing dramatic RDMA network performance improvements for MPI applications
    • Improved Network Configuration Wizard
    • New shared memory MS-MPI implementation for multicore servers
    • MS-MPI integrated with Event Tracing for Windows
  • Storage
    • Improved iSCSI SAN support in Windows Server 2008
    • Improved Server Message Block (SMB) v2 in Windows Server 2008
    • New parallel file system support and vendor partnerships for clusters with high-performance storage needs
    • New memory cache vendor partnerships

Other features new in this version are Head Node Redundancy and reporting and diagnostic tools such as SQL Server Analysis Services and real time heat maps. In the previous version there were no cluster-specific monitoring tools and one had to rely on standard Windows performance monitors.

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