Interesting post from John Powers (who regularly posts insightful comments on an industry I don’t get to see in my day job) on the what it takes to be successful in that rapidly growing segment of the market, enterprise HPC: meet customers where they are.
Lots of people think “at any scale” is some sort of bragging about the ability to manage thousands or tens of thousands or gazillions of compute nodes — and of course it is. But just as importantly, “at any scale” means that we are able to scale DOWN as efficiently as we scale UP. Most hedge funds (even some whoppers) are NOT huge enterprises — they are small-to-medium businesses with some extremely compute-intensive applications. Our hedge fund customers have all found that they can get up and running with a “starter kit” of 10 or 20 nodes, verify the benefits of “dramatically improved application performance” at that level, and then scale up from there — adding more nodes, more applications, and more users as needed.
…There’s no room at a hedge fund for a “high-performance computing” group working on an entirely different platform than the “all the rest of the computing” group. Developers at hedge funds use a wide variety of tools and applications — .NET, COM, stand-alone executables, third-party libraries — but everything runs on Windows. Digipede’s early decision to let competitors pursue the false goal of “inter-OS” deployment while we integrated deeply at multiple points in the Microsoft stack has paid off well in this market.