CentOS cluster in Azure – Part 1

I have been working on Azure Resource Manager templates for a while. They are an interesting way to describe and deploy complex configurations in Azure. In particular, I have developed a template to deploy a CentOS 6.5 cluster. It will soon be published in the main Azure repository on github, but if you are interested…


How Many Cores for the Job?

That is quite a common question. Experienced systems engineers have accumulated knowledge over the years that they distill into a few rules of thumb, e.g.: Given a certain hardware configuration, for software package A with an input size of X, on average you'll need Y cores. On Azure, the hardware configuration is known and you…


Generic Resource Scheduler for Azure

GeReS (Generic Resource Scheduler) for Windows Azure is now available as a beta release on Codeplex. It is a simple batch job manager written in C# (or Python for the older version). Geres provides: Command line utilities (e.g. qsub, qlist, jobcancel, joblist) to queue tasks for computation, check on their status, cancel them. 3 task…


Endpoints, firewalls and other annoyances

When you deploy a HPC cluster on Azure, you typically want to run some application in it besides those provided in the azure samples. Those applications may require their own ports to be opened on the internal network and endpoints to be established for both internal and external communication. There is no hpc cluster manager…


Updated Infiniband on Server 2008 Paper

I have finally updated my notes on the installation of Infiniband on Windows Server 2008. They now cover the released version 2.0 of Mellanox WinOF stack. You can find the document in my skydrive public folder. Let me know if you find it useful. Powered by Qumana


Faking Networks

On a Windows HPC Server 2008 head node, that is… 1. No Infiniband on the head node In many cases people want to save themselves some money by not installing an Infiniband adapter on the head node, thereby also sparing a port on that expensive infiniband switch. It makes a lot of sense, especially when…


Upgrading from an evaluation version

I have received a few questions about upgrades from the evaluation version that you can download from microsoft.com/hpc to a full version. The good news is that the evaluation version is fully functional, so you won’t need a complete re-installation. The only thing you need to do is obtain a full licence key, then: -…


Proxies and Compute Nodes

You’ve prepared your templates, configured your network, your firewalls and everything you could think of, yet your automated provisioning takes forever and eventually fails… Well, check if you have a patching task in your node template. If you do, you’ll need a way to reach the Microsoft Update service and download any patches. You may…


Upgrading to HPC Server 2008 RC1

Well, there is no upgrade path, so the quickest way is to re-image. Download the RC build of the HPC software from connect.microsoft.com. If you have Infiniband cards, download the latest WinIB-ND drivers ( from http://www.mellanox.com.    1. Re-image the head node and install the latest HPC pack. 2. Unzip the WinIB package on the…


I’ll be there in 2 microseconds!

Fantastic news! Mellanox has released the beta 2 version of their WinIB 1.4 stack, which works with HPC Server 2008 beta 2 and has Network Direct providers for their latest ConnectX cards. The results announced at ISC 08 are outstanding: – 2 microseconds’ latency – 2 GB/s throughput Another outstanding result for HPC Server 2008…