Although High Performance Computing (HPC) has been a market primarily dominated by Linux, there have been a few silver linings for Microsoft Windows. For example, Microsoft Windows has held a place in the top 500 supercomputers for several years with Sanghai Supercompter Center’s Magic Cube (DAWNING 5000A), CSIRO’s Bragg, Tokyo University’s TSubame2.0 (touched petaflop), being the most notable entrants. Top500 The List started in 1993 to assemble and maintain a list of the 500 most powerful computer systems, which are compiled twice a year to provide a ranked list of general purpose systems that are commonly used for high end applications.
Windows has also made its way into the deskside/compact/personal supercomputing arena with Cray CX1, Nvidia Tesla Personal Supercomputers, SGI Octane III.
HPC is extended to Windows desktops, as well as clusters. The recent focus of Microsoft has been HPC via cloud using MS Azure platform.
While Microsoft has been focusing on making High Performance Computing “mainstream” and is predominant in “non-traditional”, “general-purpose”, “small”, “affordable” HPC, MS Windows has found usage in traditional HPC areas as well. MS Windows has good application in financial services (SOA jobs and Excel acceleration), oil and gas, manufacturing and geological services. Infrastructure, tools, and technologies have also evolved to support HPC on Windows platforms. Quite a few Independent Software Vendors (ISV) HPC applications are ported to run on Windows, such as Optistruct, RADIOSS, Abaqus, and ANSYS Fluent. Intel MPI, Platfrom MPI, and MPICH2 all have Windows ports available with Microsoft with their own MPICH based implementation named MS MPI.
Altair has observed a significant increase in demand in recent years for small scale Windows clusters, desktop cycle harvesting and heterogeneous Windows-Linux clusters in traditional HPC. Altair have been catering to the needs of HPC on Windows for many years with our market-leading workload management and job scheduling solution PBS Professional, or PBS Pro. PBS Pro has helped thousands of companies worldwide to improve productivity, optimize resource utilization and efficiency, and simplify the process of cluster workload management. The product is supported on all relevant variants of Linux/UNIX and Windows. Windows support is a distinct advantage for PBS Pro users because other available workload managers in the market either do not support Windows platform altogether or have limited support. PBS Pro offers a rich set of job scheduling and workload management capabilities on both platforms. For this reason, PBS Pro has been chosen as the preferred workload management solution for Microsoft Azure.
PBS Pro is a certified product for Windows compatibility and meets Windows standards on reliability, security, installation, and performance. It is also the only EAL3+ certified workload manager and maintains the highest standards of security. Additionally, the PBS Works suite was named the Best HPC Software Product or Technology in the annual HPCwire Readers’ Choice Awards for 2014!
Beginning with PBS 13.0, PBS supports Intel MPI and MPICH2 on Windows and continues to offer a wide range of efficient tools to improve workload management and user experience. Receiving email notifications on job state change events has become more robust. File staging capabilities are now enhanced with stronger support for UNC paths and network mapped drive inside file staging paths. In addition to batch workloads, PBS Pro now also supports interactive and GUI jobs on Windows.
HPC on Windows is here to stay and grow. Altair has an ecosystem ready to tackle the challenges with products like PBS Pro, Compute Manager and Display Manager. We are excited to be able to extend our products and solutions to even more users and be part of the continuous improvement in HPC!
Find out more about the latest version of PBS Professional and how it can help you.