As part of the HPC Pan-European launch event, Microsoft had the honor of launching Windows HPC Server 2008 at the very stable that has spawned the most creative, stylish and did I forget to mention, wicked fast sports cars-Ferrari!.
Relying on consistent, breakthrough innovation in all aspects of automotive technology, Ferrari brings to market awe inspiring cars that simply take your breath High performance computing (HPC) has long been a strategic asset that has helped their engineers develop the right technology components – engines, aerodynamics, gears, braking etc. – that help make great cars.    Therefore, when Ferrari decided to deploy Windows HPC Server 2008  to power the same demanding simulation workloads that were being run on Linux based HPC, one thing was clear, the notion of performance being a question mark on the Windows platform for HPC was banished forever. And I’m talking about real-world-performance-you-can-use, type performance, not a synthetic benchmark workload that is the fixation of everyone in the business. Although, we are doing OK there as well.
Shifting gears a little bit, while speed is exhilarating, it would be ignorant of me to not acknowledge the fact that the automotive industry is at cross roads today. With rising fuel costs, alternative fuel technologies that power automobiles of tomorrow, require innovations to be made today. NuCellSys GmbH, a 50/50 joint venture between Daimler and Ford Motor Company, is one such firm at the forefront of innovation, developing fuel cell systems for automotive applications.
Unlike Ferrari, NuCellSys GmbH was investigating HPC for the first time. The need for HPC was felt when it became clear that the engineers’ workstations would simply not be able to sustain simulation models that were pushing multi-million elements in size. For NuCellSys, ensuring the scientist and engineers existing workflow was undisturbed while ensuring that the IT staff could easily and efficiently deploy and manage a HPC solution were the top requirements, in addition to a scalable high performance computing solution. Introducing an entirely new operating system with associated HPC stack overhead costs was not an option; Windows based HPC then, was a natural fit. NuCellSys is confident that the Windows based HPC cluster will take all of 1.5 hours/ week for cluster administration.
So here we are, a little over 2 years after we launched version 1 of our HPC product, powering simulations for the most demanding sports car company in the world and helping foster innovation for an HPC new comer.