Less than a year after launching its high performance computing strategy, Microsoft finds its HPC Server 2008 near the top of the heap. The Windows Server 2008 derivative placed 23rd on a list of the 500 top-performing supercomputers in the world, as measured by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). And it’s which is still in beta; general availability is set for the end of this month.

Running on a Dell PowerEdge Cluster equipped with 9,474 processor cores and 9600 GB of memory, HPC Server 2008 performed 68.5 trillion floating point operations (teraflops) per second, according to a Microsoft report. The company was apparently being modest. The NCSA itself in showed on the Top 500 Web site, that “Abe” performed at a peak of 88.3 teraflops.

The International Supercomputing Conference publishes a list twice a year at www.top500.org. The news was reported by Microsoft yesterday from the
International Supercomputing Conference
in Dresden, Germany this week. The conference ended today.

All the giants were there: Cray, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, NEC, SGI and Sun, to name just a few. And of course Intel, which in April teamed up with supercomputer maker Cray, and whose Threading Building Blocks form the basis for high performance computing applications the world over.

HPC Server 2008 is based on Windows Server 2008, with the special sauce of failover protection, cluster management, and the ability to scale to thousands of processor cores. HCP Server also includes high-speed networking, supports third-party clustering file systems and has a job scheduler redesigned to perform as part of an SOA.

The fastest system this year was “Roadrunner,” a system built by IBM for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory. Its peak performance was a record 1.026 petaflops.

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