Windows HPC with Burst to Windows Azure Training Course

Version: v1.6 (September 2011 Update)

This Resource Kit contains samples that demonstrate HPC application types and concepts shown in the article "Windows HPC with Burst to Windows Azure Application Models and Data Considerations". This new version of the resource kit includes samples that demonstrate the new features of the HPC Pack 2008 R2 SP2, including using the Message Passing Interface (MPI) on Windows Azure nodes, and the HPC Job Scheduler's representational state transfer (REST) API.

Target Audience

This training kit is intended for use by people who are familiar with Windows HPC Server 2008, and wish to learn how to use the Azure burst scenario, which is described in the article Windows HPC with Burst to Windows Azure: Application Models and Data Considerations.

Audience Prerequisites

  • Experience using Windows HPC Server 2008 R2

  • Experience using previous versions of Visual Studio .NET and .NET Framework 3.5 or above


Parametric Sweep

Parametric sweep provides a straightforward development path for solving delightfully parallel problems on a cluster (sometimes referred to as "embarrassingly parallel" problems, which have no data interdependencies or a shared state that would preclude linear scaling through parallelization). One such problem is the calculation of prime numbers over a large range. Parametric sweep applications run multiple instances of the same program on different sets of input data stored in a series of indexed storage items, such as files on a disk or rows in a database table. Each instance of a parametric sweep application runs as a separate task, and many such tasks can execute concurrently, depending on the amount of available cluster resources.


Service-oriented architecture (SOA) is an architectural style designed for building distributed systems. The SOA actors are services: independent software packages that expose their functionality by receiving data (requests) and returning data (responses). SOA is designed to support the distribution of an application across computers and networks, which makes it a natural candidate for scaling on a cluster. The SOA support provided by Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 is based on Windows Communication Foundation (WCF), a .NET framework for building distributed applications. Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 SP2 improves SOA support by hosting WCF services on Windows Azure nodes in addition to the on-premises nodes.

Excel Offloading

The execution of compute-intensive Microsoft Excel workbooks with independent calculations can sometimes be scaled using a cluster. The integration of Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 SP2 with Windows Azure supports User Defined Function (UDF)-offloading. Excel workbook calculations that are based on UDFs defined in an XLL file can be installed on the cluster’s nodes (on-premises and/or Windows Azure). With the XLL installed on the cluster, the user can perform the UDF calls remotely on the cluster instead of locally on the machine on which the Excel workbook is open.

Message Passing Interface (MPI)

Message Passing Interface (MPI) is a platform-independent standard for messaging between HPC nodes. Microsoft MPI (MS MPI) is the MPI implementation used for MPI applications executed by Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 SP2. Integration of Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 SP2 with Windows Azure supports running MPI applications on Windows Azure nodes.