Feeds

Microsoft feeds Excel to supercomputer

Windows HPC chases Linux

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

F sharp

The F# language is in customer technology preview this week and is part of Visual Studio, which is in beta. Windows HPC Server 2008 R2, which is required for the integration with Excel, is in beta now as well, and it includes enhancements to the scheduler and tuning in the Message Passing Interface (MPI) stack used to create an HPC cluster. The MPI stack has optimizations for the latest processors from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices, better MPI debugging, and enhanced support for the Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) protocol over Ethernet and InfiniBand.

"We're just as fast as Linux on microkernel and other benchmarks, which is a big change for us over the past three years," says Mendillo, who added that the HPC business was "growing extremely fast" but would not quantify that. "We are getting a lot of consideration on deals we didn't see a year and a half ago. We are getting considered half the time now."

Part of this is due to the fact that there are new companies (particularly in life sciences) and users (particularly in financial services) who do not have experience with Linux and don't want it. They are growing up out of their workstations and into HPC clusters. And they want to keep their data on Windows servers and use Active Directory and they want to use tools like SharePoint to share the results of their calculations too.

To help make a Windows HPC Server cluster less intimidating, Microsoft's Systems Center tools have been tweaked with the upcoming R2 release to do a better job deploying a cluster. Mendillo says that System Center can deploy a 1,000-node cluster in between 4 and 5 hours. Microsoft has also created a tool nicknamed "The Lizard," short for the Linpack Performance Wizard, that takes the smarts of the best HPC techies at Microsoft and encapsulates it in a set of wizards that automatically optimizes a cluster to run the Linpack Fortran benchmark. The idea is that you tune for the benchmark and now your parallel applications will run better, too.

Mendillo would not say when Microsoft would get the recently acquired Star-P application parallelization tools into its stack, but it looks like the tools will go into Windows HPC Server at first, not Visual Studio. Mendillo said that the key people of Interactive Supercomputing are now working in the Microsoft "nerd center" across the street from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, and that Star-P will be in technology preview with a future release of HPC Server sometime next year.

Microsoft's Windows HPC Server still didn't rank very high on the Top 500 supercomputing list that came out this week at SC09, but the University of Southampton popped onto the list at number 74 running the R2 beta on 66.8 teraflops cluster made of IBM's iDataPlex iron and using Xeon 5500 processors.

Expect Microsoft to have a much better showing soon, though. The Tokyo Institute of Technology has just inked a deal to do a second-generation cluster based on blade servers from Sun Microsystems, GPU co-processors from Nvidia, and Windows HPC Server 2008 R2. This machine, named Tsubame 2, will replace Tsubame 1, which was comprised of Sun Opteron blades and ClearSpeed math co-processors and was rated at 87 teraflops. Tsubame 2 is going to weigh in at a much heftier 3 petaflops of peak performance and will almost certainly rank in the top five when it is delivered in the spring of 2010. It may even take over the top spot. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
Docker kicks KVM's butt in IBM tests
Big Blue finds containers are speedy, but may not have much room to improve
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Gartner's Special Report: Should you believe the hype?
Enough hot air to carry a balloon to the Moon
Flash could be CHEAPER than SAS DISK? Come off it, NetApp
Stats analysis reckons we'll hit that point in just three years
Dell The Man shrieks: 'We've got a Bitcoin order, we've got a Bitcoin order'
$50k of PowerEdge servers? That'll be 85 coins in digi-dosh
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.