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Requirements for Running Excel Jobs on a Windows HPC 2008 R2 Cluster

Updated: February 23, 2011

Applies To: Windows HPC Server 2008 R2

This topic describes the requirements for offloading calculations from Microsoft Excel 2010 to an Windows® HPC Server 2008 R2 cluster by using the clients and services that are part of HPC Services for Excel. For detailed information about the features in HPC Services for Excel, see What Is Included in the HPC Services for Excel.

For information about creating custom solutions, see Developing Excel workbooks that can run on a cluster.

In this topic:

Requirements for UDF offloading

HPC Services for Excel includes built-in services and a client to support UDF offloading. This section lists the requirements for offloading UDF calculations to a cluster by using the Excel Cluster Connector on the client and the XLL container services on the cluster.

Application requirements

  • The UDFs must be registered as cluster-safe and contained in an XLL file. For more information, see Cluster Safe Functions (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=198465).

  • The XLL that implements the UDFs must be installed on the cluster and on the client computer.

  • The workbook that calls the UDFs must be designed in a supported way. For example, too many cell references in a UDF call can cause an error when sending the calculation request.

  • The XLL must either target the Microsoft Visual C 2008 runtime (VC 9.0) which is installed by default on the cluster, or you must include the Microsoft Visual C 2010 runtime (VC 10.0) when deploying the XLL to the cluster. For more information, see Visual Studio 2010 and HPC Server 2008 R2.

System requirements for the cluster

  • Enterprise Edition of HPC Pack 2008 R2 installed on the head node

  • Compute nodes with the Enterprise Edition of HPC Pack 2008 R2 installed or workstation nodes to run Excel jobs

  • At least one WCF broker node configured and enabled on the cluster

  • The XLL files that contain the cluster-safe UDFs deployed to the cluster

  • Any dependencies for the XLL files (such as DLLs, runtimes, or add-ins) deployed to the cluster

noteNote
You cannot run 64-bit XLL files on 32-bit nodes (for example on 32-bit workstation nodes).

System requirements for the client computer

  • Microsoft Excel 2010 installed

  • The XLL file installed

  • HPC Pack 2008 R2 client utilities installed

noteNote
To connect to a cluster, your computer must be joined to the same domain or to a domain that has a trust relationship with the cluster domain.

Permissions

To offload UDF calculations to a cluster from a client computer, you need the following permissions:

  • User or administrator permissions on the cluster or a member of a domain group that has been added as a user or administrator on the cluster

  • If a specific job template is used for UDF offloading jobs, have permissions to submit jobs with that job template

  • Read and Execute permissions on the XLL files that are deployed to the cluster if they are secured with access control policies

Requirements for workbook offloading

HPC Services for Excel includes a built-in service and a client to support workbook offloading. This section lists the requirements for offloading workbooks to a cluster by using Excel Client and Excel Service.

Application requirements

  • The workbook must define independent units of calculation to run on the cluster by implementing the HPC macro framework.

  • The workbook must contain code that starts a session on the cluster and creates an instance of Excel Client.

  • The workbook calculations that will run on the cluster must not require interaction from the Excel user.

  • The same version of the workbook must be installed on the cluster and on the client computer.

System requirements for the cluster

  • Enterprise Edition of HPC Pack 2008 R2 installed on the head node

  • Compute nodes with the Enterprise Edition of HPC Pack 2008 R2 installed or workstation nodes to run Excel jobs

  • At least one WCF broker node configured and enabled on the cluster

  • Microsoft Excel 2010 installed on the nodes that will run workbook offloading jobs

  • The Excel workbooks deployed to the cluster

  • Add-ins and database accessible to the cluster nodes if a workbook calls the add-ins or accesses the database

noteNote
Workbooks that have 64-bit dependencies (such as XLLs or add-ins) cannot run on 32-bit nodes (for example on 32-bit workstation nodes).

System requirements for the client computer

  • Microsoft Excel 2010 installed

  • The workbook installed

  • HPC Pack 2008 R2 client utilities installed

noteNote
To connect to a cluster, your computer must be joined to the same domain or to a domain that has a trust relationship with the cluster domain.

Permissions

To offload workbooks to a cluster from a client computer, you need the following permissions:

  • User or administrator permissions on the cluster or a member of a domain group that has been added as a user or administrator on the cluster

  • If a specific job template is used for UDF offloading jobs, have permissions to submit jobs with that job template.

  • Read permissions on workbooks deployed to the cluster that you need to use if they are secured with access control policies

Important considerations

If you are offloading more than one workbook from the same client computer, you must run and offload each workbook in a separate process. This avoids potential problems such as macros invoking cell ranges on the wrong workbook and conflicts with global variables.

If multiple workbooks are open in the same Excel window, they are running the same process. To run workbooks in separate processes, you must open each workbook in a separate Excel window.

There are several ways to do this. The following procedures describe a couple options.

To open workbooks in separate Excel windows

  1. If no Excel window is open yet, double-click a workbook to open it, otherwise skip to step 2.

  2. Launch a new instance of Excel from the Start menu.

  3. In Excel, use the Open menu (press CTRL + O) to open a second workbook.

Your workbooks are now open in separate Excel windows.

Alternately, you can create a shortcut to your workbooks that starts an instance of Excel and then opens the workbook.

To create a shortcut that opens a workbook in a new Excel window

  1. Right-click a workbook, and then click Create shortcut. The shortcut appears.

  2. Right-click the shortcut (yourWorkbook.xlsx – Shortcut), and then click Properties.

  3. In the Shortcut tab, Target points to the location of your workbook. Paste in the location of excel.exe before the location of your workbook, and put double-quotes around each location.

    For example:

    "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\EXCEL.EXE" "C:\Users\yourName\yourWorkbook.xlsx"

    noteNote
    To find the location of excel.exe: Click the Windows Start button and then type excel.exe into the search box. In the search results, right-click excel.exe and then click Properties. The General tab displays the location.

When you open the workbook from the shortcut, it will always open in a new Excel window.

Additional references

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