[Beowulf] MS Cray

Shahrokh Mortazavi smortaz at exchange.microsoft.com
Thu Sep 18 09:26:13 PDT 2008

I will add to what john said that we’re working w leading Linux/Unix tool vendors to port their offerings to WHPC.   For example key math libs are already available, tools like Vampir are about to go Beta (uses the moral equivalent of Dtrace on Windows for tracing), Allinea has created a Visual Studio add-in for debugging on a cluster, etc.  WHPC also has an “SOA” programming model that’s useful for certain verticals (such as finserv).  You should also check out MPI.Net, it’s a really well done high performance wrapper around MPI (esp if you were put off by previous .Net/Java + MPI attempts) – try using it from C#/F#/Python.  On the Fortran side, both PGI and Intel make great compilers, both of which are available as snap-ins for Visual Studio w full project/debugger/profiler/etc support.


From: beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org [mailto:beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org] On Behalf Of Eric Thibodeau
Sent: Wednesday, September 17, 2008 7:58 PM
To: John Vert
Cc: Beowulf
Subject: Re: [Beowulf] MS Cray

John Vert wrote:

I don’t have a CX1 (yet!) but I expect the development experience will be the usual Windows HPC model. Design/code/test parallel code in Visual Studio then do test runs on the cluster. With Visual C++ and Windows HPC, you have MPI, OpenMP, threading, and an MPI debugger. You can debug and test your code either locally or on a cluster from the same development environment.

If you are interested, Pluralsight has a very detailed tutorial here: http://www.pluralsight.com/community/blogs/drjoe/archive/2008/06/19/51178.aspx

It is definitely our goal to make it simple to develop an MPI application on your desktop and then easily run it, tune it, debug it on a cluster of any size.

John Vert
Windows HPC
Yes but...that brings out my point, this is implying that _everyone_ would need HPC server. And seeing how much that costs for the CX1, I'm curious to see how the research departments will be able to cope with the licensing issues and TCO of using the MS solution compared to the FOSS and/or POSIX proprietary approach. There is also a question of readily available resources that will be able to run the code MS flavored code, there are many MPI+posix clusters out there, none that I know of that run MS HPC.

From: beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org [mailto:beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org] On Behalf Of Eric Thibodeau
Sent: Wednesday, September 17, 2008 1:28 PM
To: Lux, James P
Cc: Beowulf
Subject: Re: [Beowulf] MS Cray

On that node, here are my questions to the MS implementation of clustering (and how CX1 will actually be usable or how one will be able to develop _for_ execution on one of the MS based CX1):

Currently, most of our users are under Linux on their WS so that they can develop something that will potentially run off a big cluster. This implies the users are under a POSIX compliant OS with good MPI/OpenMP/threading support, which waters down to Linux or OSX (those Power Macs are impressive and *silent*).

Where I have reserves about the MS solution is as follows: how will MS users be able to develop parallel code locally on their WS without needing to upgrade/change their hardware/OS to be compatible with a MS based cluster/CX1. It's not made clear weather the "clustering tools" are tightly integrated into the CX1 platform or if, as with Linux or OSX, it's a simple case of installing mpi-ish libs (and a few others).

With the pricing scheme, I can't imagine _every_ dev getting their own CX1 to play on so I believe adoption of the platform required ease of installation (ie: all tools should be available throughout windows 2000-xp-vista) and shouldn't even be version specific (IMHO)...but that's me being used to Linux heh! ;)


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