Microsoft made available to testers a beta build of the second service pack (SP2) for its coming supercomputing service "Windows Server High Performance Computing (HPC) 2008 R2" platform on May 2.
"The Microsoft HPC Pack 2008 R2 software, and the Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 Suite, enables cluster based supercomputing based on x64 versions of Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 as well as Windows 7 clients. Windows HPC Server can be used for massively parallel programs (computational fluid dynamics, reservoir simulation) as well as embarrassingly parallel programs (BLAST, Monte Carlo simulations).
An HPC Pack 2008 R2-based system is a cluster of servers that includes a single head node, and one or more compute nodes. The head node controls and mediates all access to the cluster resources and is the single point of management, deployment and job scheduling for the compute cluster. It utilizes the existing corporate Active Directory infrastructure for security and account management," Microsoft stated.
Here's a list of features in SP2:
- Ability to add Azure VM roles to the cluster
- Ability to run MPI-based jobs on Azure nodes
- Ability to write and run data-parallel applications using Dryad
- Support for "workstation nodes"; to be in a different domain from the dedicated cluster hardware
- Support for Azure Connect (codenamed "Sydney") on Azure Nodes
The full and detailed feature list for HPC 2008 R2 SP2 is in this TechNet article.
In order to participate in the beta program you need to sign up for the Microsoft HPC Server 2008 R2 Beta Program through Microsoft Connect.
[Source: Windows HPC survival guide]