Linux Interacting with Windows HPC Server

There are many interesting technology showcases at SC’11 this week. One of the Birds of a Feather sessions this week will discuss a solution implemented at Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) that mixes Linux with Windows HPC Server in a cluster for processing large amount of data.

Without a proper tool or a lot of practice, getting Linux and Windows to work together seamlessly to provide a unified interface for end users is a very challenging task. Having both systems coexist in an HPC cluster environment adds an order of magnitude of additional complexity compared to an already complex enough HPC Linux cluster.

This is because Windows and Linux “speak very different languages” in many areas such as user account management, file path and directory structure, cluster management practice, application integrations etc.

The good news is the Platform Computing engineering team did some heavy lifting in product development for this project. Platform HPC integrates with the full software stack required to run an HPC Linux cluster. Its major differentiator compared to alternative solutions is that Platform HPC is application aware. When adding Windows HPC Server into the HPC cluster, the solution delivered by Platform HPC ensures it provides a unified user experiences across Linux and Windows, and hides the difference and complexity between the two OSs.

Platform HPC team has developed a step by step guide for implementing an end-to-end solution with provisioning both Windows and Linux, unified user authentication, unified job scheduling, automated workload driven OS switch, application integrations, and unified end-user interfaces.

This solution significantly reduces the complexity of a mixed Windows and Linux cluster, so users can focus on their applications and their productive work, as opposed to managing the complexity of the mixed Windows and Linux cluster.


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