Going Above and Beyond to Ensure Success

By Derrick Harris

March 17, 2008

As I’ve noted before, some weeks simply have more news than others. This week was one of the others. However, that certainly doesn’t mean the news that was announced wasn’t interesting.

For example, we have news from GigaSpaces that it has added yet another financial institution to its list of customers. For a smaller company with limited marketing resources, one has to credit GigaSpaces for building a product both simple enough and advanced enough to make impressions with the financial firms it does reach. But it takes more than high technology to create a product that really resonates with your target audience. A company also must understand what its customers really need.

Which brings us to this week’s feature article about a solution that GigaSpaces developed Microsoft’s help to relieve traders from the crippling grips of their Excel-based desktop applications. You’ll learn all about it when you read the article itself, but the point I want to drive home is that GigaSpaces has demonstrated, to me at least, a clear understanding about what its customers need. While the company already has achieved a certain level of pervasiveness in financial datacenters, it noticed a particular pain point stemming from mountains of data and increasingly complex algorithms overmatching Excel-based applications on trading floor desktops, and it proactively sought out a solution.

Actually, this partnership reminds me of the recent partnership between Platform and IBM around Symphony for Cell-based BladeCenters, and hence serves as just the latest proof that successful IT vendors don’t rest on their laurels and hope their flagship products carry them to the promised land. Judging by the relative success of both Platform and GigaSpaces, the trick seems to be identifying every possible pain point or opening to squeeze in a competitive edge, and then expanding your portfolio to meet these specific needs.

For what it’s worth, GigaSpaces and Microsoft aren’t limiting their partnership to the Excel adapter. According to Microsoft Financial Services’ Stevan Vidich, the two companies also have done some work on the HPC front, where GigaSpaces XAP can be used to give compute nodes managed by either Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 or HPC Server 2008 access to a data grid. This is particularly beneficial, noted Vidich, when the volumes of messages be exchanged are large.

“It’s a very nice partnership because their product has touch points with Excel on the desktop, Excel on the server via Excel Services and SharePoint, and also our grid computing product, HPC Server 2008,” Vidich told me. “By touching multiple product lines and offering integration across multiple products, I think it will demonstrate that it’s a very valuable product to financial services customers.”

Another announcement that really caught my attention came from Tier1 Research, whose latest report revolves around the forces affecting transformation in the mass-market hosting space. We’ve been covering the hosting space more and more since providers really started taking advantage on the on-demand capabilities of virtualization last year, and this report cites virtualization as one of the factors threatening the dominance of dedicated hosting. I firmly believe this to be the case, and we’ll have an article next week that should illustrate this even more, as we look at two very different companies leveraging virtualization to offer the most flexible hosted services for their respective customer bases.

Elsewhere in the issue, be sure to check out: “ESA Leads Endeavor to Save Earth Science Data”; “OpenFabrics Alliance Releases Latest Enterprise Software”; “Open Source GridGain 2.0 Released”; “Appistry Launches Free Download Program”; “P2P Speeds Large Data Transfers Over Internet”; and “Sun, Microsoft Expand Investment in Interoperability.”

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Comments about GRIDtoday are welcomed and encouraged. Write to me, Derrick Harris, at [email protected].

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