NEW YORK — Sept. 22, 2008 — Microsoft Corp. today announced it has released to manufacturing its newest server — Windows HPC Server 2008, giving Wall Street firms an easy-to-deploy, cost-effective and scalable high-performance computing (HPC) solution. Today’s event kicks off a series of global launch activities in the coming weeks to support the new product.
During a keynote address at the 2008 High Performance on Wall Street conference, Bill Laing, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Windows Server and Solutions Division, discussed how financial services firms are increasingly turning to HPC resources to conduct real-time and intra-day risk analysis in response to the turbulent market environment.
“Companies have to be more efficient than ever with IT resources, but need to maintain their position in a competitive marketplace. They require HPC solutions that deploy quickly, integrate in a heterogeneous environment and scale from workstation to cluster,” Laing said. “The launch of Windows HPC Server 2008 is just another step in our vision to drive HPC mainstream.”
In his keynote speech, Laing also noted that the company’s HPC vision goes beyond traditional HPC workloads. Microsoft brings the value of an integrated HPC solution and a productive development environment to customers for whom high-performance computing has been out of reach in the past. By focusing on productivity for users, developers and administrators, Microsoft is positioned to take high-performance computing mainstream.
“IDC research shows that high-performance computing has been one of the highest-growth IT markets over the past five years,” said Earl Joseph, HPC program vice president at IDC. “Microsoft has made significant advancements in its products targeted for the HPC market, especially with the launch of Windows HPC Server 2008.”
Laing also talked about how Windows HPC Server 2008 gives developers the tools to use high-performance computing with the Microsoft products that businesses already own and use every day, including Office Excel and Office SharePoint Server, through a new service-oriented architecture (SOA) within HPC development.
Windows HPC Server 2008, the successor to Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003, is based on Windows Server 2008 and is designed to do the following:
Improve productivity of systems administration and cluster interoperability by dramatically simplifying the overall deployment, administration and management over the entire system lifetime while ensuring interoperability with existing systems infrastructure.
Rapid HPC application development through integration with Visual Studio 2008, which provides a comprehensive parallel programming environment. In addition to supporting standard interfaces such as OpenMP, multiprocessor interconnect (MPI) and Web services, Window HPC Server 2008 also supports third-party numerical library providers, performance optimizers, compilers and debugging toolkits.
Seamlessly scale from workstation to cluster by allowing end users to harness the power of distributed computing through a familiar Windows-based desktop environment without requiring specialized skills or training.
Greater Opportunities for Customers and Partners
Close to 100 companies in various vertical industries, including Lloyds TSB Bank in financial services, participated in early evaluation and feedback programs during the development of Windows HPC Server 2008.
Morgan Stanley, a leading global financial services firm providing a wide range of investment banking, securities, investment management and wealth management services, has been working closely with Microsoft on the development of Windows HPC Server 2008.
“At Morgan Stanley, we create and develop models and systems designed to enhance our securities and investment banking businesses,” said Jay Dweck, global head of strategies and technology for the Institutional Securities Group (ISG) at Morgan Stanley. In this capacity, Dweck runs Morgan Stanley Innovative Data, Environments, Analytics & Systems (IDEAS). “We are closely evaluating Microsoft’s Windows HPC Server 2008 to provide Morgan Stanley with the ability to maintain our competitive edge.”
For partners, Windows HPC Server 2008 provides a broad platform for ISVs and an expanded playing field for OEMs to enable new innovations in high-performance computing. Microsoft is working with more than 60 partners, including Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Cray Inc., Dawning Technologies Inc., Dell Inc., HP, IBM Corp., Intel Corporation, transtec AG., Verari Systems Inc., Viglen Ltd. and VXTECH, to continue to drive high-performance computing farther into the mainstream.
“We believe that Windows HPC Server 2008 and IBM System x hardware will significantly expand the high-performance computing market,” said Dave Jursik, vice president of HPC Sales for IBM. “The combination of Microsoft’s proven software with IBM’s unique supercomputing tools and solutions gives clients industry-leading productivity and extreme, high-end performance.”
“Milliman is very proud to be the first actuarial system vendor to be integrated with Windows HPC Server 2008,” said Pat Renzi, MG-ALFA product manager at Milliman Inc. “Our recent integration continues our history of success in delivering the speed and capacity of high-performance computing from Microsoft. In addition, MG-ALFA is a highly scalable application that is extremely easy to implement and integrate into the IT infrastructure of our insurance company clients.”
Last week, Microsoft announced a new partnership with supercomputer leader Cray to introduce a new compact supercomputer, the Cray CX1. With prices starting at $25,000 (U.S. estimated retail price (ERP)), the CX1 running Windows HPC Server 2008 is easy to purchase, deploy, operate and upgrade. The solution will enable companies in various industries to unify their Windows-based desktop and server workflows.
Availability and Pricing
Windows HPC Server 2008 evaluation copies are now available for download at http://www.microsoft.com/hpc. Pricing for Windows HPC Server 2008 will be $475 (U.S. ERP) per node. More information is available at http://www.microsoft.com/hpc/howtobuy/pricing/default.mspx.
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