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You've learned about many of the new features of the latest version of the Windows kernel in the Mark Russinovich Inside Windows 7 conversation here on Channel 9. One of Mark's favorite kernel innovations is the new way the kernel manages the scheduling of threads and the underlying synchronization primitives. Prior to Windows 7 (and Windows Server 2008 R2) the Windows kernel dispatcher employed a single lock, the dispatcher lock, which worked well for a relatively small numbers of processors (like 64). However, now that we find ourselves in the midst of the ManyCore era, well, 64 processors aren't that many... A new strategy was required to scale Windows to large numbers of processors since a single lock is limited in capability, by design: The masterful David Cutler, one of the world's greatest software engineers, wrote the NT scheduler in a time when the notion of affordable 256-processor machines was more science fiction than probable.



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