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Microsoft Broadens Supercomputing Reach through New Offerings

By DE Editors

Microsoft Corp. has announced the availability of betas for Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 and distributed Microsoft Office Excel 2010 for the cluster. Together with the recently announced Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Beta, which helps simplify parallel programming, these advances make it possible for more users to access supercomputing power through Microsoft Office Excel, Windows Server, and Visual Studio.

“Until now, the power of high-performance and parallel computing has largely been available to a limited subset of customers due to the complexity of environments and applications, as well as the challenges of parallel programming,” said Vince Mendillo, senior director of High Performance Computing at Microsoft. “Today, we’re seeing performance numbers that rival Linux from micro-kernel benchmarks to independent software vendor (ISV) benchmarks. We have a dedicated performance lab at Microsoft, and ISVs are seeing 30 percent to 40 percent performance improvements in the speed of their code on Windows HPC Server.”

Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 will help make parallel programming simpler and more efficient for a broad base of developers across both client and cluster workloads, according to the company. In addition, by moving Microsoft Office Excel 2010 to the cluster, customers are seeing linear performance scaling of complex spreadsheets—spreadsheets that before would take weeks to complete, and which are now completing their calculations in a few hours.

Last week, Cray Inc. launched the Cray CX1-iWS system, a new generation of workstation sold exclusively through Dell Inc., which combines a Windows 7-based workstation with a fully interoperable high-performance computing cluster running Windows HPC Server 2008. Similarly, Wipro Technologies, recently announced that it has formed a relationship with Microsoft to address the growing high-performance and parallel computing segment. Wipro will enable customers to migrate to Windows HPC Server 2008 by offering services for application porting, optimization, application development, and cluster deployment and management.

“Many frontline researchers, analysts and scientists desperately need access to more computational power than they currently have, but find it either difficult or too costly in time to gain access to expanded HPC resources. Windows HPC Server 2008 has been designed to address the needs of those wishing to expand their access to HPC, without requiring them to become computer programming experts,” said Earl Joseph, program vice president, high-performance computing, IDC. “Microsoft’s latest investments in HPC and parallelism help to reduce the complexities of supercomputing, in particular making it easier to program and thereby making it more accessible to business, academia and government users.”

For more information, visit Microsoft’s HPC site and its Earn, Train, Learn program site.

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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DE's editors contribute news and new product announcements to Desktop Engineering. Press releases can be sent to them via DE-Editors@deskeng.com.