Technology for Tomorrow’s Winners

By Eleanor Haas

Change or die. The mandate to update IT infrastructures
comes from today’s intense competitive challenges. A recently posted IBM white paper – Into the
Future: The Technology Fast Track for
Financial Markets
(http://www-03.ibm.com/industries/financialservices/doc/content/bin/fss_fm_ins_into_the_future.pdf)
focuses on financial markets, as increasing numbers of equities trade
orders are executed using algorithms and the data volume explosions stresses
out front-office systems. But virtually
all business sectors are experiencing both unprecedented competitive pressures
and an exponential explosion in the volume of data being generated. And this calls for the analytic capabilities
high performance computing (HPC) provides. 

The good news is that HPC is no
longer affordable only by the US Government and well-financed research
organizations. It has become an option
for small-to-mid-sized businesses with modest budgets in the tens of thousands
of dollars – wherever computational problems require significant processing
power in order to have rapid access to very large amounts of data that must be
processed quickly.

Hedge funds could not survive
without HPC, and, when you think of it, they may have huge assets under
management but are not large organizations. Biotech companies too are small and equally dependent on HPC.

Intel and AMD have brought
processor costs down, and major hardware vendors, such as IBM and HP, now offer
products specifically designed for smaller organizations. Applications developers too have designed
products for smaller environments. To
complete the picture, a great many tools now exist to enable systems that can
be easily operated and maintained by companies that are not expert in IT and
computing.

Companies still need to determine the best technology
solution for their particular situation and then to structure a fine-tuned
infrastructure of components. But now
HPC is there for the taking, and taking it could have a lot to do with who
makes it into the ranks of the next generation of winners.

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