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Rory - Administrator October 13, 2006 15:08

Microsoft HPC cluster for CFD - question

We are considering Microsoft compute cluster server for CAE/CFD.

Does anyone work with microsoft HPC cluster tools ( to run cfd software? Would you recommend it? is it better/as good as/less good than a Linux cluster?

Which software did you use on it?

Thank you in advance


Ben October 13, 2006 15:20

Re: Microsoft HPC cluster for CFD - question
I know Star-cd is ported to microsoft ccs

Harry October 15, 2006 08:27

Re: Microsoft HPC cluster for CFD - question
I am not sure about this. I was told that star-cd is not ported on windows XP 64-bit which is what the microsoft cluster requires. It is only on 32-bits. I think you should check with your cd-adapco representative.

Star-cd also requires user-coding for most of its models. I would advised you to check user-coding works ok before HPC on windows.


Ben October 15, 2006 15:32

Re: Microsoft HPC cluster for CFD - question
I am not sure about the windows 64 thing but I guess if it is ported to ccs then it will work on 64bit.....on the user coding thing, there should be no difference parallel on windows if the same compiler is being used (absoft) then there is no difference in parallel coding for windows.

Patrick October 16, 2006 10:06

Re: Microsoft HPC cluster for CFD - question
A microsoft hpc-guy told me that not only all nodes have be 64bit - they also have to be totally equal (hardware). If you have a existing inhomogeneous cluster (as we do) with a more powerfull masternode then win-ccs will not be your solution.

But you know the microsoft salesmen - they do not always know their products themself...

airfoil October 17, 2006 07:42

Re: Microsoft HPC cluster for CFD - question
Star-cd has been ported to XP 64 bit but it is actually a 32bit. The different is it can hold more memory (longer word) in XP 64 bit. You can model your model with more cell then 32 bit but you will more RAM for 64 bit. About clustering, you can use a simple cluster system with MPICH. The existing MPICH is 1.25. which is not very efficient. I heard MPICH 2 will be more efficient. Talking about efficiency, the main culprit is your network system. Make sure you have a fast connection and isolated domain. I can't comment on XP vs Linux because I have no experiance on Linux cluster.

*Windows XP 64 bit is actually Windows Server 2003

TG October 17, 2006 11:52

Re: Microsoft HPC cluster for CFD - question
Nobody has the whole story completely right.

STAR-CD 3.26 will run on the microsoft hpc cluster. That means that it cooperates with the microsoft resource queueing system and uses microsoft's mpi. While microsoft ccs is built on a 64bit OS, it does not require every application to be 64bit to run. The actual solver ported is 32 bits which shouldn't be a problem anyway since you can just keep adding more cpu's to do a bigger problem. The serial steps that requires more than 32bits of memory (the decomposer and merge) are built in 64bits.

Thomas November 13, 2006 12:41

Re: Microsoft HPC cluster for CFD - question
I have deployed a production CCS system that runs both Fluent and Star CCM+. It is not as fast as a comparable LINUX system, but considerably easier for my IT guys to manage. I checked on Cd-Adapco's downloads and didn't see a Star-CD for PC-win. That doesn't mean they don't have one somewhere. Star CCM+ still uses MPICH2 and doesn't use the job scheduler yet (only an issue if you have a lot of users). Fluent works well using msmpi and the job scheduler. For someone with good windows support in-house and little LINUX expertise CCS is a good solution. I wouldn't put over 50 nodes to CCS.

rt November 13, 2006 13:59

Re: Microsoft HPC cluster for CFD - question
what is benefit of using windows server vs windows XP, i priori used XP (with MPICH) but with only six (non-homogeneous) nodes withouth problem, is its benefit for large number of nodes.

also it is possible to have diskless cluster under windows (witouth VMWARE).

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