Is Microsoft back in HPC to Stay with new IB-Powered Azure Instance?

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Microsoft’s Bill Hilf writes that the company’s new new instance configurations of Azure with the Microsoft HPC Pack 2012 are designed to be an optimal platform for your Big Compute applications.

As part of our commitment to Big Compute we are announcing hardware offerings designed to meet customers’ needs for high performance computing. We will offer two high performance configurations: The first with 8 cores and 60 GB of RAM, and a second with 16 cores with 120 GB of RAM. Both configurations will also provide an InfiniBand network with RDMA for MPI applications.

How fast is Azure? According to Hilf, Microsoft ran LINPACK and got 151.3 TFlops on 8,065 cores with 90.2 percent efficiency. Such performance would rank it well into the TOP500, which currently starts around 76.5 Teraflops.

Hilf goes on to cite customer use cases in Finance and Genomics. But while the new Azure offerings for HPC certainly look compelling on their debut, one has to question whether Microsoft has the attention span to commit to the HPC market this time around. Read the Full Story.