Microsoft's HPC software allows users to run HPC applications on HPC clusters that include on-premises compute nodes, part-time servers and resources running on Windows Azure.
Microsoft fourth "major" version of the software includes support for Windows Server 2012 (as head nodes, compute nodes, broker nodes and unmanaged server nodes) and Windows 8 (as clients and workstation nodes).
"You can use HPC Pack 2012 to deploy nodes in Windows Azure deployments in which Windows Azure Virtual Network is available. Virtual Network securely extends your enterprise network to Windows Azure, which allows applications that run on Windows Azure nodes to access resources on the enterprise network. With Virtual Network, you can build traditional site-to-site virtual private networks (VPNs) to scale data centers, and create hybrid applications that span from an on-premises HPC cluster to Windows Azure. This feature provides applications with the means to access files in shared folders, and to access servers for license validation."
Other new features in HPC Pack 2012: The ability to increase cluster robustness by adding more than two head nodes in a failover cluster group; single installion of all features previously split between the Express, Enterprise, Workstation and/or Cycle Harvesting editions; and overall performance and reliability updates.