[This topic is pre-release documentation and is subject to change in future releases. Blank topics are included as placeholders.]

This document lists the new features that are available in this release of Windows® HPC Server 2008 R2.


If you want to test some of the new features listed in this document, see the Test Focus Guide for Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 Beta 1, and the Developer Resources for Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 Beta 1.

Job scheduling and runtime

The following job scheduling features are new in this release:

  • Service-balanced scheduling. This release includes a new scheduling mode that optimizes the process of starting jobs, and balances in real time the resources that are assigned to jobs, according to their priority. To enable this functionality, run the following command on the head node of your HPC cluster: cluscfg setparams schedulingmode=balanced.

  • Dynamic parametric tasks. This feature improves the performance of large parametric task sweeps by creating tasks when they are needed, instead of creating them when the job is submitted.

  • Job progress viewing and reporting. A redesigned user interface on HPC Cluster Manager displays job progress. Also, changes to the application programming interface (API) help you to report more detailed job progress information for your HPC applications.

  • Improved job and task troubleshooting. The user interface for job and task troubleshooting has been improved to make it easier to review errors. To see detailed information about a failed job, double-click that job on HPC Cluster Manager or HPC Job Manager.

  • Task cancellation grace period. In this release, when you cancel a task that is running, the HPC Node Manager Service stops the task by sending a CTRL+BREAK event to the application. The application then has a preset period of time to exit gracefully. The application can use this time to save state information, write a log message, create or delete files, or finish the current service call. You can configure the task cancellation grace period by changing the TaskCancelGracePeriod cluster property.

  • New node preparation and node release tasks for jobs. These new job tasks are available in HPC Cluster Manager, the API, HPC PowerShell™, and the command-line tools. A node preparation task runs on a node before any other tasks, and you can use it to creating local folders, copying files onto the node, or performing other initialization steps. A node release task runs on a node when the node is ready to be released from the job, and you can use it to delete temporary files, copy local files to a central shared folder, or perform other cleanup steps.

  • Scheduling at scale and better task throughput at scale. This release includes support for larger clusters, more jobs, and larger jobs—including improved scheduling and task throughput at scale.

  • Update user credentials once for all queued jobs. This release includes improvements to the way that user credentials are handled. You can now update your user credentials once for all your jobs that are in the queue.

SOA scheduling and runtime

The following runtime features are new in this release:

  • Support for multiple clients in SOA sessions. In the first CTP release of HPC Pack 2008 R2 (CTP 1), a service-oriented architecture (SOA) session could only be used by one client application at a time. Multiple client applications sharing the same session could not determine which results belonged to them. In this release of HPC Pack 2008 R2, by improving the session API, every batch of computation is tagged with a GUID so that multiple client applications can share the same SOA session by identifying its own GUID when sending computation requests and retrieving results.

  • Fire and recollect programming model. This release supports offline SOA applications, including client disconnect (SOA batch) and client resilience.

  • Single-job SOA sessions. In this release, it is no longer necessary to have two jobs running for each SOA session (one job for the SOA session broker, and one for the service). This one-to-one mapping between jobs and sessions can make monitoring and reporting simpler.

  • Built-in flow control. The new SOA session API and the new broker Web service interface in this release include a built-in flow control. With this feature, you do not need to implement your own throttling behavior, as was necessary in previous releases.

  • Better Java interoperability. This release provides improved interoperability with Java client applications.


The following deployment features are new in this release:

  • Deployment at scale. This release provides efficient deployment of up to 1,000 nodes.

  • Remote database configuration. During the installation process of HPC Pack 2008 R2, you can configure Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2008 SP1 databases on computers that are not the head node of your HPC cluster, and then use them to host cluster management, job scheduling, reporting, and diagnostics information.

  • iSCSI Deployment. With this release, you can deploy nodes on your cluster that boot over the network by using an iSCSI connection. This new feature helps you to centralize your storage, and to deploy diskless nodes (that is, computers that do not run the operating system from a local hard disk drive or that do not have a hard disk drive installed).

Cluster management

The following cluster management features are new in this release:

  • Location-based node management. With this release, you can quickly view compute nodes in HPC Cluster Manager based on their location information. To see the new list view: in Node Management, under Nodes, click By Location. You can also view compute nodes on the heat map grouped by their location information. For more efficient viewing options, you can specify up to three levels of location detail for each compute node: primary, secondary, and tertiary.

  • Heat map enhancements for large clusters. This release includes improvements to the heat map view in HPC Cluster Management, to support the display of large clusters. You can see the status of up to 1,000 nodes without scrolling. Additionally, you can configure color-coded overlays of information in the heat map view, and have a prioritized metric display.

  • Tabbed views. With this release you can create multiple customizable tabs in HPC Cluster Manager. This enables you to have several list and heat map views available at the same time, each one displaying the metrics that you select.

  • Diagnostics extensibility. You can create and add your own custom diagnostic tests to HPC Pack 2008 R2. These tests are run by the HPC Job Scheduler Service, and you can create and manage them by using HPC Cluster Manager and HPC PowerShell. You can also specify parameters for tests.

  • Reporting extensibility. This release includes a rich reporting database and the ability to create and add custom reports to HPC Pack 2008 R2.