Microsoft's High Performance Computing team has just made our 'release candidate' for two products available: The HPC Pack 2008 R2 Service Pack 3 and the Windows Azure Scheduler SDK.

The HPC Pack service pack is an update to the same Windows HPC cluster software that you know and love, with improvements to basic functionality & stability and a few additional new features such as the integration of the Linq to HPC runtime (previously released as a beta add-on, check out the BUILD conference presentation at http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/BUILD/BUILD2011/SAC-453T for more information), enhancements to our Windows Azure bursting scenarios by reducing the number of ports you have to open in your firewall (services now use 443 instead of a multiple ones), and the ability to install the HPC Pack software on a server not dedicated to your cluster (e.g. a team file server) for use in a manner similar to the Workstation Node functionality previously available.

The big new part is the first chance at trying out the Windows Azure Scheduler, previously announced at the BUILD conference (http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/BUILD/BUILD2011/SAC-452T)

The Windows Azure Scheduler for Parallel Applications is a solution that enables you to deploy applications in a scalable, high-performance computing (HPC) infrastructure in Windows Azure. With the Windows Azure Scheduler, you can schedule, submit, and monitor HPC jobs that use your Message Passing Interface (MPI), service-oriented architecture (SOA), or LINQ to HPC applications.

With the Windows Azure Scheduler SDK, you can create Windows Azure deployments that support scalable, compute-intensive, parallel applications. This SDK provides the following features:

  • Built-in job scheduling and resource management.
  • Runtime support for Message Passing Interface (MPI).
  • Service-oriented architecture (SOA).
  • LINQ to high performance computing (HPC) applications, web-based job submission interfaces, and persistent state management of job queue and resource configuration.

Applications that have been built using the on-premises job submission API in Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 can use very similar job submission interfaces in the Windows Azure Scheduler.

 

To get access to these pre-release installers head over to the HPC team's "Connect" beta website ( http://connect.microsoft.com/HPC ). Once you sign up, you'll have access to the Release Candidate on the website's "downloads" section.

For questions and comments head over to our discussion forums at http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/category/windowshpc