Microsoft has announced immediate availability of Windows High Performance Computing (HPC) Server 2008 R2, its top-of-the line Windows Server operating system, as of September 20.
Microsoft already is working on an update to the just-released HPC 2008 R2 platform that will "allow customers to provision and manage HPC nodes in Windows Azure from within on-premises server clusters," and is planning to demonstrate this capability at the High Performance Computing Financial Markets Conference in New York today.
Company officials are not providing further details about how or when they will make this HPC update available. But they are saying it will help those who want to burst HPC workloads from their on-premises datacenters to the cloud for extra processing power. (I'm thinking we might hear more specifics on this at the Microsoft cloud-focused Professional Developers Conference 2010 in late October....)
Microsoft introduced a Beta 1 of the third release of HPC Server, HPC Server 2008 R2, in the fall of 2009. Beta 2 hit in April. Release to manufacturing occurred this past summer.
New to the latest HPC release is improved scalability, tight integration with Windows 7, better Excel integration (via HPC Services for Excel 2010), and better support for cross-platform integration for customers running both HPC Server and Linux, Microsoft execs have said. Despite the Linux-interop message, Microsoft's foremost competitor in the HPC/supercomputing space remains Linux.
Microsoft's HPC platform is one of the main products of Microsoft's Technical Computing Group, formed in March of this year.