Microsoft said on Wednesday that it is ready with an updated test version of the next compute cluster version of Windows Server.
The company released Beta 2 of Windows HPC Server 2008 R2, the version aimed at the kind of computing clusters used in education, the life sciences, finance and other areas. Among the features in the new beta is the ability to use Windows 7-based desktops as nodes within a compute cluster and take advantage of the processing power of graphics chips within a cluster. Microsoft is also adding broader support for Excel with a set of high-performance computing services for Excel 2010.
"It's an exciting time for high performance computing at Microsoft as we work to put supercomputing power in the hands of those who need it most," product unit manager Ryan Waite said in a blog posting.
The first beta of HPC Server 2008 R2 was released in November. The company hopes to release the final version later this year.
The company scored a win back in 2008 when well-known supercomputer maker Cray added Windows HPC Server-based machines to its product line.
Separately on Wednesday, Microsoft released a version of its Dynamics CRM product that is customized for non-profit and non-governmental organizations. In addition to the standard relationship management features, this version adds support for things like donation and pledge management, membership management, volunteer tracking, campaign management, as well as dashboard reports and online payments.