Microsoft Offers Betas for Supercomputing Clusters

November 18, 2009 at 4:15 am Leave a comment

At Supercomputing 2009, Microsoft Corp. announced the availability of betas for Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 and distributed , Microsoft Office Excel 2010 for the cluster. Together with the recently announced Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Beta, which helps simplify parallel programming, these advances make it possible for more users to access supercomputing power through familiar technologies and tools such as Microsoft Office Excel, Windows Server and Visual Studio.

            “Until now, the power of high-performance and parallel computing has largely been available to a limited subset of customers due to the complexity of environments and applications, as well as the challenges of parallel programming,” said Vince Mendillo, senior director of High Performance Computing at Microsoft. “Today, we’re seeing performance numbers that rival Linux … ISVs are seeing 30% to 40% performance improvements in the speed of their code on Windows HPC Server.”

            Although multicore systems are becoming ubiquitous, few developers can build parallel applications that truly leverage the available resources. Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 will help make parallel programming simpler and more efficient for a broad base of developers across both client and cluster workloads. In addition, by moving Microsoft Office Excel 2010 to the cluster, customers are seeing linear performance scaling of complex spreadsheets – spreadsheets that before would take weeks to complete, and which are now completing their calculations in a few hours.

            Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 improvements include the following:

  • Improved scalability with support for deploying, running and managing clusters up to 1,000 nodes;
  • New configuration and deployment options such as diskless boot, mixed-version clusters and support for a remote head node database;
  • Improved system management, diagnostics and reporting with an enhanced heat map, multiple customizable tabs, an extensible diagnostic framework and the ability to create richer custom reports;
  • Improved support for service-oriented architecture (SOA) workloads, automatic restart and failover of broker nodes, and improved management, monitoring, diagnostics and debugging; and
  • New ways to accelerate Microsoft Office Excel workbooks such as support for Cluster-Aware User-Defined Functions and the capability to run distributed Excel 2010 for the cluster.

            “Many frontline researchers, analysts and scientists desperately need access to more computational power than they currently have, but find it either difficult or too costly in time to gain access to expanded HPC resources. Windows HPC Server 2008 has been designed to address the needs of those wishing to expand their access to HPC, without requiring them to become computer programming experts,” said Earl Joseph, program VP, high-performance computing, IDC. “Microsoft’s latest investments in HPC and parallelism help to reduce the complexities of supercomputing, in particular making it easier to program and thereby making it more accessible to business, academia and government users.”

Entry filed under: IT Infrastructure & Data Center Management, The Bleeding Edge. Tags: , , , , , .

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