Microsoft Pushes Its Technical Computing Initiative Forward With Windows HPC Server 2008 R2

NEW YORK — Sept. 20, 2010 — Today during the keynote address at the High Performance Computing Financial Markets Conference, Microsoft Corp. announced the immediate availability of Windows HPC Server 2008 R2. Providing a comprehensive and integrated high-performance computing (HPC) solution at a low cost of ownership, this server offers new capabilities for powerful analysis and is ready for the toughest technical computing workloads in business, academia and government.

“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 2008 R2 Technical Advancements

Customers rely on 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. Their feedback has driven important advancements in Windows HPC Server 2008 R2.

  • A comprehensive and integrated solution. With Windows HPC Server, customers have an end-to-end HPC platform and do not need to spend additional time and money to piece together multiple technologies. It provides a streamlined experience for administrators and users because it is interoperable with the Microsoft IT infrastructure many customers have invested in and use today, such as Active Directory, SharePoint Server, Microsoft System Center and Microsoft Office.

  • A fast and cost-effective solution. Public software vendor and open source benchmarks1 show that Windows HPC Server performance equals that of Linux. Recent research demonstrates that Windows HPC Server is 32 percent to 51 percent less expensive than Linux-based HPC systems over five years.2

  • New capabilities for more powerful analysis and computation. HPC Services for Excel 2010 in Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 reduces calculation time of huge, complex spreadsheets by orders of magnitude. For example, calculation of a workbook with 1,700 records dropped from 14 hours to less than three minutes. In addition, customers can now turn spare processor cycles on Windows 7-based workstations into desktop compute clouds that expand the capacity of Windows HPC Server clusters.

  • Growing application support. Hundreds of technical computing applications currently run on Windows HPC Server 2008 R2, with a sixteenfold increase over the past two years. Forty partners announced their support of the Windows HPC platform today.

Extending HPC to the Cloud

The cloud is a key pillar of Microsoft’s Technical Computing initiative. At the High Performance Computing Financial Markets Conference, Microsoft demonstrated how customers will be able to burst HPC workloads from their on-premises datacenters to the cloud for elastic, just-in-time processing power. In the near future, the company will release an update to Windows HPC Server that allows customers to provision and manage HPC nodes in Windows Azure from within on-premises server clusters.

Parallel Development Simplified

At the conference, Microsoft also highlighted another tenet of its Technical Computing initiative: Simplifying the development of HPC applications for the new generation of distributed, or parallel, computing resources on client systems, server clusters and in the cloud. With Windows HPC Server 2008 R2, Visual Studio 2010, and partners such as Intel Corporation and NVIDIA Corp., Microsoft provides an integrated parallel computing platform upon which developers can efficiently design, test and optimize parallel code for deployment on client, cluster or cloud computing resources.

“Technical computing presents an enormous opportunity to transform massive amounts of data into powerful insights and solutions,” said Earl Joseph at IDC. “Companies and products, like the new Windows HPC Server 2008 R2, help customers easily take advantage of new technology advances, such as HPC clusters, GPUs, cloud computing and multicore processors. All of these enhancements will help to accelerate the growth of the high-performance computing market.”

Customers interested in evaluating Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 can visit Information about Microsoft’s Technical Computing initiative can be found online.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

1 For more information, see “Choosing between Windows and Linux for High Performance Computing” white paper (.pdf file).

2 Based on an HPC deployment scenario of 250 compute nodes and 1,000 desktop nodes; for more information, see “Evaluating the Lifecycle Costs of High Performance Computing Solutions: Windows HPC Server and Linux-based Solutions” white paper (.pdf file).

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