FAQ: Technical Aspects of Windows HPC Server 2008

Applies To: Windows HPC Server 2008

In this section:

What are the minimum system requirements for Windows Server 2008 HPC Edition?

Hardware prerequisites for Windows Server® 2008 HPC Edition are the same as for other editions of Windows Server® 2008. The head node and all compute nodes must be x64 computers. The following table lists the hardware requirements for a minimal and a recommended installation.


Item Minimum requirements


x64 architecture computer with Intel Pentium or Xeon family processors with Intel Extended Memory 64 Technology (EM64T) processor architecture; AMD Opteron family processors; AMD Athlon 64 family processors; compatible processor(s)

Memory (RAM)

512 MB

Multiprocessor support

Windows Server 2008 HPC Edition and Windows Server 2008 Standard support up to four processors per server. Windows Server 2008 Enterprise supports up to eight processors per server. Windows Server 2008 Datacenter supports up to sixty four processors per server.

Disk space for installation

50 GB

Disk volumes

A single system volume is required for the head and compute nodes. A redundant array of independent disks (RAID) is supported, but not required. The system volume must be a master boot record (MBR) disk. Additional volumes can be MBR or GUID partition table (GPT) disks.

Network interface card

At least one network interface card (NIC) is required. If a private network is used, the head node requires at least two NICs, and the compute nodes require at least one NIC. Each node may also require an additional high-speed NIC for a Message Passing Interface (MPI) application network.

How much memory does Windows HPC Server 2008 support?

Windows® HPC Server 2008 supports a maximum of 128 GB of memory.

What operating systems does the Microsoft HPC Pack 2008 support?

Windows HPC Server 2008 is a 64-bit product. The Microsoft® HPC Pack 2008 can be installed on any of the following operating systems:

  • The Windows Server 2008 HPC Edition operating system

  • The 64-bit edition of the Windows Server 2008 Standard operating system

  • The 64-bit edition of the Windows Server 2008 Enterprise operating system

  • The 64-bit edition of the Windows Server 2008 Datacenter operating system

Client computers from which users can run the administration and job submission consoles must run on any of the following operating systems:

  • Windows® XP Professional with Service Pack 3 or later (x86- or x64-based)

  • Windows Vista® Enterprise, Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Home, or Windows Vista Ultimate

  • Windows Server® 2003 Standard Edition or Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition with Service Pack 2 or later (x86- or x64-based)

  • Windows Server 2003, Compute Cluster Edition

  • Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard Edition or Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition (x86- or x64-based)

Can I access Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 and Windows HPC Server 2008 clusters from the same desktop workstation?

Yes. A single workstation can have the client tools for both Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 and Windows HPC Server 2008 installed. The client tools are specific to the version of Windows HPC product - Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 or Windows HPC Server 2008. The Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 client utilities can only be used to interact with a cluster that is running Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003. The Windows HPC Server 2008 client utilities can only be used to interact with a Windows HPC Server 2008 cluster.

For more information about compatibility between Windows HPC Server 2008 and Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003, see Windows HPC Server 2008: V1/V2 Compatibility (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=123634).

What hardware platforms does Windows HPC Server 2008 support?

Windows HPC Server 2008 can only be installed on x64 architecture hardware. Itanium (IA-64) hardware is not supported.

Will there be a 32-bit version of Windows HPC Server 2008?

There are no plans at this time to release a 32-bit version of Windows HPC Server 2008.

Will my 32-bit application run on Windows HPC Server 2008?

Although Windows HPC Server 2008 requires 64-bit computers for use as compute nodes, 32-bit applications running on 64-bit compute nodes is a supported configuration. The 32-bit application will not be able to use the larger memory-addressing functionality that is available on the compute node, but it will run. Developers will find both 32-bit and 64-bit Microsoft Message Passing Interface (MPI) libraries included in the Windows HPC Server 2008 Software Development Kit (SDK). For issues with 3rd party 32-bit applications running on a 64-bit server, please contact your software vendor for support.

Does Windows HPC Server 2008 provide head node failover?

HPC Pack 2008 supports the failover clustering feature that is included with the 64-bit editions of the Windows Server 2008 Enterprise and Windows Server 2008 Datacenter operating systems, to provide a redundant head node for improved cluster availability. However, the failover clustering feature is not available in Windows Server 2008 HPC Edition. To take advantage of failover clustering, appropriate licenses and installation media of Windows Server 2008 Enterprise or Windows Server 2008 Datacenter will need to be acquired for the two cluster head nodes. Additionally, licenses and installation media for Microsoft® SQL Server™ Standard Edition or SQL Server Enterprise Edition will need to be acquired to utilize the database clustering services necessary to provide resiliency for the system databases used for management and job queuing. For more information about running an HPC cluster with failover clustering, see the Configuring Failover Clustering in Windows HPC Server 2008 Step-by-Step Guide (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=123894).

Does Windows HPC Server 2008 require Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition?

Windows Server 2008 Enterprise is only required when using two head nodes in a failover configuration. Compute nodes can run Windows Server 2008 HPC Edition, even when head nodes are running Windows Server 2008 Enterprise.

Does Windows HPC Server 2008 require Microsoft SQL Server?

Windows HPC Server 2008 stores management and job queue information in a SQL database. A minimum of Microsoft SQL Server Express Edition is required. If you require head node failover or a management database greater than 4 GB, SQL Server Standard Edition or SQL Server Enterprise Edition will be required to provide clustering and failover services for the HPC databases.

Can there be more than one head node in a Windows HPC Server 2008 cluster?

Each HPC cluster can have only one active head node. An HPC cluster may also have a second, inactive, head node for failover purposes.

Can I use Windows HPC Server 2008 running with Server Core?

No. Server Core is a minimal server installation option for computers running the Windows Server 2008 operating system. Server Core provides a low-maintenance server environment with limited functionality. Server Core does not include the Microsoft .NET Framework, which is a prerequisite to install the HPC Pack 2008.

Can Windows HPC Server 2008 integrate with 3rd party HPC offerings?

Windows HPC Server 2008 supports the OGF (Open Grid Forum) HPC Basic Profile specification for jobs submission. It uses common Web services specifications to enable interoperability between multiple HPC middleware platforms and allows application and middleware software providers to target multiple HPC systems via a single protocol.

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