Teched session on HPC in top 20!

Phil Pennington and I presented a session on cluster performance optimization at Teched 2008 in Orlando. It made it in the top 20 list by customer satisfaction!!! To all those who were there and voted for us: Thank you!!! To all those who were not there but would still like to know about it: leave…


How fast is this thing, really?!

Microsoft entered the HPC market a couple of years ago with a value proposition based on ease of integration, use and management. The comment we received most often sounded more or less like this: "This is all well and good, but how fast is this thing, really?". Well, here are a couple of impressive answers:…


A Hybrid OS Cluster Solution

Thomas Varlet, of Microsoft France, and Dr. Patrice Calegari, of BULL SAS, have written an excellent paper on how to build hybrid clusters, i.e. clusters where 2 or more operating systems can be run at the same time. It is recommended reading, in my opinion, for those of us who use both Linux and Windows…


UK HPC User Group Meeting

The UK HPC user group is meeting in London on June 26th, for what promises to be an interesting day at the Imperial War Museum.This meeting is intended for customers, partners and developers to “meet and mingle”, compare notes and provide Microsoft with direct input into our product and offerings.  On the day the attendees…


Webcasts Again!

Hey all, I’m doing another series of webcasts. 2 of them have already been aired, two more will happen shortly. Here are the topics: – deployment and management – high availability – new scheduler features – hpc server 2008 and linux You’ll find a link to register and summaries on:



Did you notice that the latest CTP has introduced a new option for mpiexec? Using mpiexec -affinity you can affinitize the mpi rank to the core where it is started, thus avoiding context switches. Your application will determine whether you actually benefit from affinitization or not. Some of them show a good performance improvement, some…


4×4 and other quick tips

I’ve recently been involved in a simple benchmarking exercise. Here are a few quick “rules of thumb” that have helped me: – 4×4 A PCIe 4x slot is supposed to have 4 lanes capable of 250 MB/s each, for a total of 1 GB/s. An Infiniband SDR 4x card has 4 channels clocked at 2.5Gb/s,…


HPC & Movies

In my last post I investigated how HPC can be used to build UFOs. This time, I’ve learned to my surprise that HPC can be used to make movies! Digital media production follows a complex workflow, from initial sketch to wireframe model, to rendered 3D images, to movies. HPC is typically used in rendering, encoding…


Interested in HPC? How about UFOs?

To many people HPC is like UFOs: We there’s somebody somewhere, but we don’t really know what they’re doing and where they fit in the grand scheme of things. Here’s my attempt at explaining them (UFOs AND HPC). Happy reading. If you think I’ve smoked one too many – please leave a comment. Equally, please…


Infiniband on HPC Server 2008 – again

After I published a document about the installation of Mellanox Infiniband on Server 2008, I have received some good feedback that deserves sharing. Note that: The WinIB 1.4 beta available for download today on Mellanox’s web site does not work with the HPC Server 2008 March CTP. We are working with Mellanox to fix that….