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HPC, yet another WS2008 operating system, to launch this month

The official launch of HPC 2008 Server will be September 22, blogger Mary-Jo Foley reports. It will launch

as part of the 2008 “High Performance on Wall Street” conference in New York.

Hard to believe Microsoft needs yet another version of its flagship server operating system but so be it. This variant went into its final "beta" in June, 2008, and has been mostly overlooked in terms of hype, says blogger Alex Lewis. Features include more management tools, job scheduling and built-in clustering ... or for a full list view the chart below.

Feature

Implementation

Benefit

Operating system

Windows Server 2008

Inherits security and stability features from Windows Server 2008.

Processor type

x64 (AMD64 or Intel EM64T)

The large memory model and processor efficiencies of x64 architecture.

Node deployment

Windows Deployment Services

Image-based deployment, with full support for multicasting.

Head node redundancy

Windows Failover Clustering and SQL Server Failover Clustering

Requires Windows Server 2008 Enterprise and SQL Server Standard, but provides a fully redundant head node and scheduler.

Management

New Integrated Administration Console

Integrates all aspects of node and job management, grouping, monitoring at-a-glance, diagnostics, and reporting in a single application.

Network topology

Network Configuration Wizard

Fully automated, with a more intuitive interface, the Network Configuration Wizard facilitates configuring the cluster’s network topology.

Application network

MS-MPI

New, high-speed application network stack using NetworkDirect drivers. New shared memory implementation for multicore processors. Highly compatible with existing MPICH2 implementations.

Scheduler

Job Manager Console

GUI console is integrated into Administration Console, or is stand-alone. Command line supports Windows PowerShell scripting and legacy command-line scripts from Windows Compute Cluster Server (the first version of Windows HPC offering). Greatly improved speed and scalability. Support for SOA applications.

Reporting

Integrated into Administration Console

Standard, prebuilt reports. Extensibility features allow using SQL Server Analysis Services for additional analysis. Historical performance charts.

Monitoring

Integrated into Administration Console

Heat map on cluster or node group. Per node charts. Cluster-wide performance overview.

Diagnostics

Integrated into Administration Console

In-the-box verification tests and performance tests. Store, filter, and view test results and history.

Source: Microsoft

In June, Alex Lewis lamented HPCs lack of software support, but Microsoft marketing materials list about 30 HPC partners when including hardware and software vendors that have been on board with Microsoft Windows Compute Clusters Server 2003. The assumption is that these same makers will offer support of the WS2008 version of HPC, though it is difficult to find any materials which document who, what, when, why. More news on that will no doubt come during the New York gala. Stay tuned.

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