Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 is Done and Ready

Microsoft has a new operating system. Today during the keynote address at the High Performance Computing Financial Markets Conference, Microsoft announced the immediate availability of Windows HPC Server 2008 R2, its specialized operating system for supercomputers.

“This release of Windows HPC server is a key step in our long-term goal to make the power of technical computing accessible to a broader set of customers, with capabilities across the desktop, servers and the cloud,” said Bill Hilf, general manager, Microsoft Technical Computing Group. “Customers in all industries can use Windows HPC Server as a foundation for building and running simulations that model the world around us, speeding discovery and helping to make better decisions.”

Windows HPC Server clusters to run a wide variety of mission-critical applications, from simulating financial markets to fighting disease to building next-generation vehicles.

While Linux rules the server market that Windows HPC Server is in, Microsoft cites benchmarks that shows that its own OS's performance equals that of Linux. Furthermore, Microsoft claims that Windows HPC Server is 32 percent to 51 percent less expensive than Linux-based HPC systems over five years.

AMD was quick out the gate with a blog post talking about how great its Opterons work with Windows HPC Server 2008 R2.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • willgart
    Good move, I need one at home ;)
  • Stifle
    Those using server farms for simulation running generally write their own code / Linux kernels don't they?
  • Wheat_Thins
    stifleThose using server farms for simulation running generally write their own code / Linux kernels don't they?
    Not really, sure they might patch the kernel to accept some bleeding edge hardware but other then that the defacto standard in HPC is Perceus which is open source and by that nature free of charge. I find it hard to believe (unless you don't have linux admins) that free software that is very easy to use if you have been in the linux environment for 5+ years and are comfortable with linux is more expensive then a product that costs money. Would love to see the number magic they are using to back up this statement. If you don't have anybody in your organization that is comfortable in the linux environment you can purchase support from the Perceus team to help you set up and maintain your HPC clusters so maybe that is where they are trying to pose its cheaper over five years?

  • jryan388
    rofl at the subtitle
  • nevertell
    @Wheat_Thins, dude linux is just as easy to use as Windows.

    I guess the real deal of linux in supercomputers is that IT'S COMPLETELY CUSTOMIZABLE. Don't like the kernel ? Change it. Because, lets be honest, there are no mainstream supercomputers, so you just can't write a kernel that performs 100% on all of the machines. That's why there's linux, an os which you can modify and shape to your needs.
  • Pyroflea
    Linux still will hold the majority. First off, all the companies running Linux will have been familiarized with it, and won't think it's difficult to use at all (which is really isn't if you don't mind sitting down for a couple hours and learning).

    Secondly, as nevertell was saying, Linux is ENTIRELY customizable, and isn't under a million licenses and restrictions. You can make it do whatever you want with a little work.
  • bfstev
    I bet they got that being cheaper figure when factoring in support costs. As in microsoft will offer free support for a minimum of 5 years where as the linux guy would be inhouse and after customizations to the kernel, might be the only person capable or maintaining it without retraining making employee retention a high priority which can lead to higher overall salaries.
  • f-14
    is Mr. Jobs doing consulting work for microsoft now? this sounds like an apple tax to me since linux is open source and even specific customized vendor server versions cost about 5000 percent less to purchase.
    Works with CUDA, so now anyone with basic MS IT skills can build a "supercomputer" probably in a few days, right now.

    eg: You have a couple of machines with some CUDA capable devices: You chain them together with the 180 day trial.

    Bingo, you are now a potential scientist. ;)

    On thing they don't make clear is why the head node is running on a separate machine then the compute nodes? Wouldn't you just virtualize the head node onto a compute node box so it could be used for computing cycles as well?
  • gogogadgetliver
    Note that the HARC guys (or whatever they are called today) over at MSFT provide an unmatched support offering. When you're moving heavy iron or shooting for five nines these are the guys to have in your corner.

    There is an engineer somewhere right now sitting at home playing xbox with his bag packed next to him. When a customer system goes down they'll work with someone on the phone while this guy gets on a plane.