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HpcVmDrivers Extension

Updated: July 28, 2015

The HpcVmDrivers extension installs, configures, and maintains the following network device drivers on a size A8 or A9 virtual machine running a Windows Server operating system so that the VM can connect to the Azure remote direct memory access (RDMA) network.

  • Mellanox User Mode Network Components

  • Microsoft Network Direct Virtual Service Client

After the drivers are configured, clustered A8 or A9 VMs can use the RDMA network when running parallel MPI applications.

  • Size A8 or A9   The drivers only enable RDMA networking available in the A8 and A9 VM sizes when running a supported Windows Server operating system. For features of compute intensive instances, see About the A8 and A9 Instances.

  • Operating system   Currently the VM must run a Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2012 operating system.

  • Azure VM Agent   The Azure VM Agent must be installed on the VM, either when you create the VM or afterward. For more information, see VM Agent and VM Extensions Overview.

  • HPC Pack   Microsoft® HPC Pack is not required to add the HpcVmDrivers extension. However, it is a recommended tool to create clusters of A8 or A9 VMs that can run MPI applications that access the Azure RDMA network. To plan and create an HPC Pack cluster with A8 and A9 VMs, see Scenario 2: Deploy compute nodes in compute intensive VMs (IaaS) in “A8 and A9 Compute Intensive Instances: Quick Start with HPC Pack”.

When you use the Azure Preview Portal to create a size A8 or A9 VM running Windows Server, Azure by default installs the HpcVMDrivers extension automatically.

To manually add the HPCVMDrivers extension, you can use Azure PowerShell cmdlets or Service Management REST APIs. Following is an example that shows you how to add the extension with Azure PowerShell. For a code sample that shows typical settings to use the Service Management REST APIs to add an extension, see Microsoft Enterprise Application Extension Handler.

  1. Get a list of the available versions of the HpcVMDrivers extension.

    PS C:\> Get-AzureVMAvailableExtension -ExtensionName HpcVmDrivers -Publisher Microsoft.HpcCompute -AllVersions
  2. Specify the VM to which you want to add the extension.

    PS C:\> $VM1 = Get-AzureVM -ServiceName "MyUniqueServiceName" -Name "MyUniqueVMName"
  3. Add the extension to the VM, and update the VM. The following example uses the Version "1.*" parameter to add the extension with the latest hotfix or minor version available for version 1.

    PS C:\> Set-AzureVMExtension -ExtensionName "HpcVmDrivers" -Publisher "Microsoft.HpcCompute" -Version "1.*" -VM $VM1 | Update-AzureVM

To verify that the extension is added, check one or more of the following.

  • In the Azure Management Portal, the Dashboard view of the VM shows the Microsoft.HpcCompute.HpcVmDrivers extension has a status of Ready.

  • The results of the following Get-AzureVMExtension cmdlet indicate that the extension is applied and in the Enabled state

    PS C:\> Get-AzureVM -ServiceName "MyUniqueServiceName" -Name "MyUniqueVMName" | Get-AzureVMExtension
  • In Device Manager on the VM, the following device drivers appear:

    • In Network adapters: Mellanox User Mode Network Components

    • In Network Direct: Network Direct Virtual Service Client

To troubleshoot adding the extension or the driver installation, see the logs under C:\WindowsAzure\Logs\Plugins\Microsoft.HpcCompute.HpcVmDrivers\<Version>.

You can use the same method to update the extension that you used to add the extension to an existing VM.

If the extension was added with a Version parameter similar to 1.*, the VM Agent automatically applies hotfixes or minor version updates (if available) during VM restarts.

A typical scenario to use the extension is to enable RDMA network connectivity between A8 and A9 VMs configured as compute nodes in an HPC Pack cluster. When properly configured in a single cloud service, the clustered compute nodes can run MPI applications that access the Azure RDMA network for efficient intra-node communication.

Steps to deploy an HPC Pack cluster and run MPI jobs on the cluster are beyond the scope of this topic. For more information to get started, see:

  • If you add the extension to a VM of size other than A8 or A9, drivers for the RDMA network will be installed and the extension may appear to be enabled. However, because VMs of these sizes don’t have the required additional network adapter, they do not connect to the Azure RDMA network.

  • The drivers that the extension installs and configures aren’t currently supported on VMs running the Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system.

See Also

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