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Microsoft Changes Name of HPC Edition to Compute Cluster Edition

Microsoft on Monday changed the name of its specialized edition of Windows Server 2003 for massively parallel computing from the HPC Edition to the Compute Cluster Edition.

Microsoft first announced the HPC Edition of Windows Server 2003 in June. The company is delivering a software development kit for the Compute Cluster Edition by the end of this month and plans to ship the OS version in the second half of 2005.

Dennis Oldroyd, a director in the Windows Server Group, explained that the previous name, where HPC stood for High-Performance Computing, was too vague.

"[The new name] reflects that the focus of this release of Windows will be on dedicated clusters of computers for high-performance computing," Oldroyd says. Microsoft is especially eager to clarify the difference between the clustered computing edition and high-end performance for large SMP systems. Its Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition, is the version intended for large computers with up to 64 processors that run a single instance of the operating system.

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While large SMP systems still have a presence in the supercomputing world, that presence is shrinking.

Oldroyd clarified that there are specific instances where the Compute Cluster Edition can serve outside a massively parallel cluster. Some scientific workloads require sending the same job to dozens of nodes, which work on the problems independently. "A lot of financial stuff tends to not require the interconnect," Oldroyd says.

While the functionality sounds similar to a feature in SQL Server 2000 called Distributed Partition Views, it is different. There aren't scenarios where SQL Server will be used with the Compute Cluster Edition in the operating system's first generation. "Data store, I think, is something we're looking at further out," Oldroyd says.

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Windows Server 2003, Compute Cluster Edition, is one of about 15 versions of Windows Server 2003. Windows Server 2003 comes in Standard, Enterprise and Datacenter editions, with each of those available for three separate platforms: 32-bit, Itanium 2 and x64. Microsoft also ships a Web Edition, two versions of Windows Storage Server 2003 and two versions of Windows Small Business Server 2003.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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