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November 15, 2009

Microsoft releases HPC Server 2008 R2, Office Excel 2010 betas

Supports clusters of up to 1000 nodes, diskless boot and remote head node database

By CBR Staff Writer

Microsoft has released betas for windows HPC Server 2008 R2 and distributed Microsoft Office Excel 2010 for the cluster. Together with Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 beta, the new offering allows users to access supercomputing power.

The company said that the Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 will help simplify parallel programming for 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 spreadsheets.

According to Microsoft, the Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 delivers improved scalability with windows HPC Server 2008 R2 offering 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; and improved system management, diagnostics and reporting including an enhanced heat map, multiple customisable tabs, a diagnostic framework and the ability to create custom reports.

The Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 also provides support for service-oriented architecture (SOA) workloads including a new fire-and-recollect programming model, finalisation hooks, improved Java interoperability, automatic restart and failover of broker nodes, and improved management, monitoring, diagnostics and debugging, the company said.

In addition, message passing interface (MPI) and networking enhancements including optimisations for new processors, enhanced support for RDMA over ethernet and InfiniBand, improved MPI debugging, and a pushbutton HPC Linkpack optimisation wizard. It also offers 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.

Vince Mendillo, senior director of high performance computing at Microsoft, said: “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. We have a dedicated performance lab at Microsoft, and ISVs are seeing 30% to 40% performance improvements in the speed of their code on Windows HPC Server.”

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