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Windows HPC Server 2008

Why Microsoft?

HPC systems run business critical applications.  They help companies gain competitive advantage, reduce risks, predict the future, and innovate.  HPC systems, are a significant investment, and have so much potential that you can’t make a rushed decision.  You need a system you can trust.

Microsoft HPC Server is the integrated, proven system that you can count on. 

You need to consider four factors when choosing a HPC middleware solution:

  1. A Complete, Integrated Solution: HPC middleware can be very complex.  A complete, end-to-end, integrated product has significant advantages over a stack cobbled together from multiple components. The integrated product will be easier to administer, easier to support, less fragile, easier to develop applications with, and have a lower learning curve.

  2. High Performance:  You know you want high performance.  But you may not know that publically verifiable benchmarks by ISVs and actual customer experiences are more reliable indicators of performance than synthetic benchmarks.

  3. Total Cost of Ownership (TCO): For very large clusters, the total cost can quickly add up if a HPC solution is chosen without taking TCO into account. While calculating TCO, include everything: not only software acquisition costs, administration costs and support costs, but also application development costs and the cost of assembling and maintaining an un-integrated stack.

  4. Reuse Existing IT Infrastructure and Skill Sets: Your company has made huge, ongoing multi-year investments in your IT infrastructure.  A HPC solution that integrates well with the existing IT infrastructure not only increases return on investment, but also offers improved productivity through familiar tools, the ability to use in-house IT expertise for HPC work, and a reduced learning curve.

Keeping these considerations in mind, Microsoft has, over the last 5 years, worked to bring to market Windows HPC Server 2008 R2, a unique HPC solution that is designed to address each of these requirements.

  • Excluding the cost of any applications, the total three-year software licensing and maintenance costs for our Windows-based HPC solution will be less than $3,000”. “Had we chosen Linux, it would have cost significantly more than that to obtain our desired level of functionality.

    John Loo, Design Systems, Senior Manager, Callaway Golf
  • …without any optimization, the new Windows-based HPC system outperformed our highly optimized Linux cluster

    Valerie Daggett, Professor, University of Washington
  • We've done benchmarks with up to 256 cores that showed performance that meets, and in some cases exceeds, the Linux tests done on the same hardware

    Greg Keller, Technical Principal, R Systems
  • Our performance tests were so conclusive that we’re now converting our Linux server to run on Windows HPC Server 2008”. We’re never going back to Linux.

    Dr. Marco Derksen, Manager of Research and Development, Stork Thermeq
  • By moving the processing from Linux to Windows HPC Server … we experienced performance improvements ranging between 30 and 250 percent. One analysis on Windows HPC Server, for example, took 34.67 seconds compared to 2 minutes 24 seconds on Linux

    Manish Parashar, Professor, Computer Science and Engineering, Rutgers
  • As opposed to the Linux cluster, where I have to download packages from all over the place to make it work, I now have an integrated set of management tools for Windows HPC Server—all under a single pane of glass. It’s fantastic.

    Vince DiStasi, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Grove City College
  • We went from not having any solution at all, to having a proof of concept, to shipping our first demo unit in about 30 days. It would have been six months with our old hardware solution and Linux, and I don’t think we would have done it.” That 83 percent faster time-to-market saved Seer about U.S $7 million

    Kurt Dobson, Scientist, Seer Technology
  • Integrated Solution

    "Without any optimization, the new Windows-based HPC system outperformed our highly optimized Linux cluster."

    Sami And Kilic, Assistant Professor Doctor, Dept. of Earthquake Engineering, Kandilli Observatory

    Most Complete and Integrated - by design

    Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 Suite provides a comprehensive, complete and integrated solution for High Performance Computing that offers:

    A complete set of APIs, runtimes and scheduling policies to run all types of HPC applications, including:

    • MPI-based applications using either Microsoft's own MS-MPI or 3rd party MPI libraries and runtimes.

    • Long running batch as well as low-latency interactive applications.

    • Conveniently parallel applications as well as applications that require extensive inter-node communication and synchronization.

    • Applications based on the Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA)

    • Parametric tasks sweeps.

    • Excel Workbooks and Excel User-defined functions (UDFs)

    • 100s of commercial ISV packaged applications and open source codes optimized for Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 Suite.

    A complete set of end-to-end systems administration and management tools that enable an administer to:

    • Rapidly Provision and deploy an entire cluster starting from bare metal.

    • Deploy dual-booted and diskless compute nodes

    • Include Windows Azure nodes as compute nodes

    • Visually monitor the health and status of the entire cluster, node-by-node.

    • Visually track the progress of all Jobs, Task and Deployments.

    • Easily collect diagnostic and performance tuning data for the entire cluster and take corrective actions as appropriate.

    • Capture and report error messages, status information and usage data for the entire cluster.

    A complete set of parallel and cluster development tools that integrate tightly with Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 Suite, enabling superior developer productivity. Anchored by Visual Studio, the most widely used Integrated Development Environment (IDE), the parallel and cluster toolset includes:

    • Parallel MPI and cluster SOA debugger

    • Parallel cluster SOA profiler

    • Parallel LINQ And Parallel Task Libraries

    • Integration with NVidia for GPGPU development

    • Parallel development frameworks

    Rich ecosystem of Partners including :

    See All Partners » Download Choosing between Windows and Linux for High Performance Computing »
  • High Performance

    "We've done benchmarks with up to 256 cores that showed performance that meets, and in some cases exceeds, the Linux tests done on the same hardware"

    Greg Keller, Technical Principal, R Systems

    World Class Performance--for applications that you care about

    Over the last 5 years Microsoft has relentlessly focused on improving performance across all aspects of the product including the operating system, networking and application runtimes. Further, Microsoft has partnered with hundreds of vendors to ensure that their applications are optimally tuned for the best performance on Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 Suite.  Publicly verifiable benchmarks show that that on identical hardware Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 Suite rivals Linux for real-world applications. Go here for details on Windows HPC Server and Linux comparison benchmarks for applications such as  LS-DYNA, Milliman and ANSYS.

    Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 offers great performance not only for package applications but also for custom home developed applications as well.  After extensive internal benchmarking, customers such as choose Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 over Linux to get better performance for their custom applications. Some such as Stork Thermeq, Callaway Golf, Daggett Research Group, and INRA have even switched to Windows from Linux.

  • Lower TCO

    "We now need fewer people dedicated to system monitoring because we’ve automated processes, which results in considerable savings for us. We’ve also experienced a positive total cost of ownership. Traditionally, people think that a Windows-based system costs more overall, but we’ve found that Windows HPC Server is actually the same or lower than the overall cost of our Linux environment."

    Xie Hao, IT Manager, Beijing Software Testing & QA Center

    Lower Total Cost of Ownership

    Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 Suite solution has a significantly lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) than equivalent Linux-based solutions. Why is this so?

    • HPC middleware that is included in Windows HPC Server must be purchased and maintained separately for Linux-based platforms.

    • While commercial Linux may be available at little or no cost, vendors such as RedHat charge a substantial amount for support and maintenance.

    • Windows Server expertise (both for development and administration) is more readily available and is less costly than Linux expertise. Existing Windows Server experts can be very easily trained to work with Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 Suite.

    Also, another significant contributor to lower TCO is the fact that Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 Suite is a full featured, complete HPC solution that includes everything needed to develop, deploy and manage all types of HPC applications. Unlike Linux-based alternatives, it eliminates the cost and effort of assembling and maintaining a software stack assembled from numerous disparate, disjoint components.

    Please read this paper to understand in greater details why Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 has a lower TCO than Linux-based solutions and more importantly to learn how much you can reduce your TCO:

    Evaluating the Lifecycle Costs of High Performance Computing Solutions: Windows® HPC Server and Linux-based Solutions »
  • Maximize Existing Infrastructure

    "NRA has found that it has been able to accomplish rapid application development with its new environment. In concrete terms, we should be able to save one year of development time because of our use of Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 Suite and Visual Studio 2008."

    Jean-Michel Batto, IT and Data Processing Manager, Microbial Genetics Unit Laboratory, National Institute for Agricultural Research

    Reuse your Existing Investments:

    With Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 Suite you can extend your investments:

    • In Windows Azure: : Windows Azure is a public cloud-computing platform that offers on-demand, pay-as-you-go, access to highly scalable compute and storage resources. It relieves customers from the burden of having to maintain their own infrastructure in their own data centers. Windows HPC Server R2 enables HPC jobs to be executed in Windows Azure i.e. you can use the computers running in a Windows Azure data center as “compute nodes” of your HPC cluster. You on-premise HPC applications can run unchanged in Windows Azure. Further, you have the choice of running your computation completely in Windows Azure, completely in your on-premise cluster or spread across both.

    Download WIndows HPC Server and Windows Azure »

    • In existing Linux clusters: Microsoft has partnered with Platform and Adaptive Computing to offer a   dynamic dual-boot solution that enables you to run Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 applications on your existing Linux clusters.  Based on load, dynamic dual-booting automatically changes the number of nodes in a cluster than run Linux.

    Customers who have taken advantage of this feature include: BMW, Rocky Mountain Supercomputing Center, King Fahd, University of Cambridge, Institute of Geology China Earthquake Administration, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, NCSA, Darsbury Laboratory and Umea University

    • In Excel 2010: With Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 Suite, you can dramatically speed up Excel 2010 calculations by running Excel calculations on a cluster. Several customers such as have been able to reduce their Excel calculation from hours or even days to minutes and seconds.

    For example a popular use of the Windows HPC cluster supercomputer at Rocky Mountain Supercomputing center is processing Microsoft Office Excel spreadsheets. One RMSC energy customer dumped reams of meter-reading data into a huge Office Excel spreadsheet and used RMSC resources to process it. With near-real-time insights into which customers are using how much energy, the company can perform predictive analysis about energy demands and proactively change its distribution network to accommodate higher energy needs in certain areas.

    Download Accelerating Excel 2010 with Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 Suite: Technical Overview white paper »

    • In Windows Desktops:  Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 Suite lets you easily utilize the idle cycles of your Windows 7 desktops/workstations to run HPC compute jobs. This is an extremely easy and cost-effective way to significantly increase the capacity of your existing clusters without buying additional servers.

    Download Adding Workstations to HPC Server Clusters »

    • In SharePoint: Integration with SharePoint provides end users with a rich, intuitive browser-based interface to Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 Suite.  Among other things end users can submit and monitor the the status of jobs through SharePoint without having to learn about the Windows HPC Server Cluster Manager tool or scripting languages.

    HPC Pack 2008 Integration with SharePoint »

    • In Windows Server:  Windows Server is the most widely user server operating system across a variety of workloads.  The HPC edition is based on the same code base as Windows Server 2008 and, as such, existing Windows Server experts can be easily transition to HPC work. Further, Windows HPC Server 2008 integrates with your existing windows-based infrastructure including Active Directory, File and Print Servers, SQL Server, Systems Center etc. Integration with existing IT infrastructure enables many highly desired end user requirements such as single sign-on, remote access.

    Pustan University and Grove College are among the many customers who switched from Linux to Windows to leverage their existing in-house expertise in Windows technologies.

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Performance Benchmarking

Performance Benchmarking

See how Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 Suite competes in scalability and performance.

Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 Suite Benchmarks »
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