Windows High Performance Computing set to take on Linux

Microsoft targets Wall Street but also focuses on mainstream

Microsoft Monday said it would ship Windows HPC Server 2008 on November 1 with designs on challenging Linux for supplying high-performance computers and specifically taking aim at ailing Wall Street customers.

Windows High Performance Computing (HPC) Server 2008 is Microsoft's entry into the battle with Linux to provide platforms for research and other compute intensive workloads.

Microsoft said at the High Performance on Wall Street Conference in New York that HPC Server 2008 had reached its "release to manufacturing" stage. The announcement comes at a time when the financial industry is in disarray.

In high-performance computing today, Linux is clearly the dominant player in the market with Microsoft battling to prove its mettle.

The previous version of HPC was originally called Windows Compute Cluster Server (CCS) 2003. It rose from a Microsoft Research project introduced in 2000. CCS 2003 shipped in August 2006.

HPC Server 2008, which is based on Windows Server 2008 64-bit Edition, features high-speed networking, cluster management tools, advanced failover capabilities, a service-oriented architecture job scheduler, and support for third-party clustered file systems.

The server, built to scale to thousands of cores, also include a high-speed NetworkDirect RDMA, Microsoft's new remote direct memory access interface, and cluster interoperability through standards such as the High Performance Computing Basic Profile specification produced by the Open Grid Forum.

The platform combines the operating system with a message passing interface and a job scheduler from Platform Computing into a single package.

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John Fontana

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