One of the hottest topics with Microsoft manufacturing customers is High Performance Computing (HPC).  From product development to manufacturing engineering, from logistics planning to supply chain modeling, new applications for HPC are being deployed everyday in the world's leading manufacturers.  The challenge however has been that until recently much of the innovative power of HPC has been in the hands of too few.  Unfortunately, proprietary systems, complex architectures and difficult administration have been the norm in HPC .  Microsoft is working to address this challenge and to make HPC accessible to more people.

I've asked Tejas Karmarkar a HPC Solution Specialist at Microsoft to guest blog with me on this topic and to tell us more of what he is seeing in the marketplace. 

Tyler

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In the manufacturing industry you can easily classify HPC applications broadly in to two categories, first is traditional engineering simulation e.g. Automotive Crash Simulation where you are trying to predict structural behavior of the car in an impact event or computational fluid dynamics where you are trying predict airflow over the airplane wing.  Second category is in High Tech industry for EDA applications and parallel software build processing. 

The next challenge for the industry is the simplification of HPC environments for its users.  With more and more advancements in microprocessor technology buying cluster hardware has become very easy.  In today’s world you can own 8 cpu’s blade server for few thousand dollars from a standard OEM, but how you manage, schedule and write programs to take advantage of all those 8 cpu’s is still a challenge.

Microsoft is doing its parts by developing integrated platform and tools for HPC environments with focus on users, administrators and developers who can take advantage of technology advancement in this area to solver bigger and more complex engineering problems.

Microsoft is making wider adoption of HPC possible by moving “SILO’S” or “ISLAND’S” of HPC in to integrated data center infrastructure.  The workflow and interaction with HPC environment can be made seamless by using other Microsoft technologies such as Active Directory, Windows Deployment Services, and Microsoft Systems Center etc.

Many of our manufacturing customers are adopting or looking to adopt Microsoft’s HPC technology here are a couple of recent examples.

Callaway Golf's new HPC cluster is delivering an eightfold increase in performance, helping make engineers far more productive and enhancing their ability to deliver innovative, high-quality products.  Furthermore, by choosing Windows Compute Cluster Server over Linux, Callaway Golf is benefiting from a solution that is easier to use, is simpler to support, and will save the company thousands of dollars in software and maintenance costs.

 

Procter & Gamble was able to deploy a fully functional Windows-based cluster in just a few hours versus two weeks or more previously.  By moving to clusters running Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003, Procter & Gamble can broaden HPC use, increase user productivity, and speed cluster deployment and management. 

I welcome feedback, comments and questions.

Tejas