Microsoft unveils Windows HPC Server 2008

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Microsoft has released the first public beta of Windows HPC Server 2008 designed for the high performance computing market..

The company has also announced the Parallel Computing Initiative to create a set of common development tools across multi-core desktops and clusters.

Windows HPC Server 2008 is the successor to Windows Computer Cluster Server 2003 and is based on Windows Server 2008.

Key features include high-speed networking, scalable cluster management tools, advanced failover capabilities, a service oriented architecture job scheduler, dual-boot and support for partners' clustered file systems.

"The new advances in Windows HPC Server 2008 allow customers to achieve the levels of scalability and performance of the most efficient clusters in the Top500 benchmark," said Kyril Faenov, general manager of HPC at Microsoft.

"This will make it dramatically more productive to deploy, utilise and integrate the advanced HPC clusters within their environment.

"By upgrading to Windows HPC Server 2008 on our 2,048-core production test cluster, we increased Linpack performance by 30 per cent and were able to deploy and validate the cluster in less than two hours using out of the box software."

The operating system also includes a common set of tools that span the desktop and cluster to help administrators, end-users and developers increase productivity.

Microsoft's Parallel Computing Initiative aims to simplify and enable parallelism for a broad set of commercial applications by adding to standards-based tools like MPI and OpenMP, and native parallel debugger support in Visual Studio 2007.

New technologies include Parallel Extensions to the .Net Framework that will enable developers to express parallelism and improve the efficiency and scalability of parallel applications.

Microsoft will ship customer technology previews of these services over the next six months.

The beta of Windows HPC Server 2008 is available for download. The final version is expected in the second half of 2008.
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