Microsoft Launches New HPC Server
More evidence of the continued trickle-down of high-performance computing capabilities to enterprises and small-to-medium-size businesses came Sept. 22 from a company not exactly well-known for HPC: Microsoft.
At the 2008 High Performance on Wall Street Conference in New York, Microsoft announced that it has released to manufacturing its newest server, Windows HPC Server 2008. The new server will be available for general distribution in about two months.
Windows HPC Server 2008, available now for evaluation download, is designed to replace Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003. It is based on Windows Server 2008 and designed to simplify the deployment, administration and management of a system while ensuring interoperability with existing infrastructures.
Windows HPC Server 2008 also is optimized for rapid HPC application development through integration with Visual Studio 2008, which already provides a comprehensive parallel programming environment. The new server supports standard interfaces such as OpenMP, MPI (multiprocessor interconnect) and Web services, in addition to third-party numerical library providers, performance optimizers, compilers and debugging toolkits.
"We've seen the advanced technologies that HPC had tackled over the last couple of decades now becoming mainstream," Kyril Faenov, general manager of Microsoft's high-performance computing group, told me.
"This is driven by two factors: One, on the technology side, with the prevalence of parallelism -- multi-core [processors] -- all systems are becoming parallel. And that's something that's been a very challenging technological subject that requires a lot of non-trivial innovation to make it easy to use. Microsoft is hiring some of the luminaries of the HPC field to bring that expertise to more mainstream products."
The second driver, Faenov said, is that HPS is becoming a fundamental part of innovation in sectors such as SMB and academics, which was unheard of only a few years ago.
"You really can't imagine companies bringing products to market at the kind of speed that they have to, and stay competitive, with the kind of complexity that's required today, without the use of advanced simulation analytics tools that HPC powers," Faenov said.
Windows HPC Server 2008 evaluation copies are now available for download here. Pricing for Windows HPC Server 2008 will be $475 per node. More information is available here.