Deploying a Windows HPC Cluster with Remote Databases Step-by-Step Guide


Updated: March 12, 2014

Applies To: Microsoft HPC Pack 2012, Microsoft HPC Pack 2012 R2

Starting in Microsoft® HPC Pack 2008 R2, you can install the Windows high performance computing (HPC) cluster databases on one or more remote servers that are running Microsoft® SQL Server®, instead of installing them on the head node of your cluster. The advantage of this type of installation is that it saves resources on the head node, helping ensure that it can efficiently manage the cluster. This configuration can also enable you to configure and run jobs on clusters that could exceed the capabilities of SQL Server Express, which is installed by default on the head node to host the cluster databases.


You should consider installing the HPC databases on one or more remote servers if your cluster will have more than 256 nodes, you plan to configure the head node for high availability in the context of a failover cluster, or your job throughput and reporting requirements could exceed the capabilities of SQL Server Express.

This guide provides step-by-step procedures for installing HPC Pack on the head node of your cluster, with the HPC databases stored on remote servers. This guide also provides information about how to prepare the remote database servers for the installation of the head node.

HPC Pack uses the following Microsoft SQL Server databases to support cluster operations. The default names of the databases are in parentheses.

  • Cluster management database (HPCManagement)

  • Job scheduling database (HPCScheduler)

  • Reporting database (HPCReporting)

  • Diagnostics database (HPCDiagnostics)

  • Monitoring database (HPCMonitoring)


    The HPCMonitoring database is configured starting in HPC Pack 2012.

During the installation process, you can select the location where you want to install each of the HPC databases: on the head node or on a remote server. You select the installation location per database, so you can install some of the databases on the head node and the remaining databases on one or more remote servers.

To install the HPC databases on a remote server, that server must be running a version of SQL Server that is supported by your version of HPC Pack. Also, you need to create the databases and configure them for remote access before you start the deployment process for your HPC cluster.

You can install as many databases as you want on each remote server. Also, you can install as many databases as you want in each instance of SQL Server (there can be more than one instance on a given server).

There are no restrictions to the names that you can give the HPC databases, except the restrictions that are imposed by SQL Server. The same rule applies to the names of the instances where these databases are created. During the installation process of HPC Pack on your head node, you are asked to specify the name of the databases that you created and the name of the instance where you created them.