Excelian unveils 'grid-as-a-service'

Source: Excelian

Excelian, an award-winning technology consultancy specialising within the financial services and commodities sectors, today announced its Grid as a Service (GaaS) offering on the Windows Azure cloud platform.

The new solution offers a fully flexible grid capability with an infrastructure running on the Windows Azure cloud platform. The solution allows full control of the grid dynamically, as well as the ability to integrate the solution with an on-premises application.

Compute grids are a key technology used in the financial services industry to perform pricing and risk management for trading portfolios. A number of companies use on-premises compute grid infrastructures, but these can be expensive to maintain, with utilisation in the industry averaging around 30%. Another challenge when running on-premises grids is flexibility, as they don't offer the ability to respond to unexpected requirements that arise in critical business situations.

With cloud computing maturing in performance and reliability, GaaS can be used as an effective solution for a compute grid environment in the financial services industry. Our solution takes advantage of these cloud benefits by utilizing the Windows Azure cloud platform to reduce maintenance costs and improve situational flexibility.

"Grid as a Service is a fully packaged solution that enables organizations to take advantage of compute resources such as those from Windows Azure in a very quick, cost-effective, and secure manner," said Andre Nedelcoux, Partner at Excelian.

"With the Windows Azure cloud platform, customers gain resiliency, flexibility and virtually limitless capacity, as well as the ability to dynamically adjust usage as required in peak usage situations," said Bob Kelly, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft. "Excelian builds on this platform, adding its understanding and expertise in financial services, to give Finance customers a GaaS solution that addresses management, provisioning and cost-for-compute."

The solution is based on a set of representational state transfer (REST) services packaged in an application programming interface (API). This API lets clients integrate the soolution with their on-premises systems and dynamically create or delete compute grids, upload data and analytics, and schedule workloads against a flexible infrastructure.

Excelian has been implementing managed HPC service support frameworks since 2010. This framework allows clients to benefit from Excelian's expertise and experience, and gives access to a managed support team that can run and manage the solution 24/7. Clients choosing to use the GaaS solution will benefit from the expertise of this team as well as our managed service framework, the objective being to offer a full turnkey experience to clients.

Many use cases can benefit from the solution:
• Transient environments (e.g., development, user acceptance testing, models back-testing) in which there is a need for a significant high performance computing (HPC) infrastructure for a limited period of time
• Variable and poorly understood workloads (e.g., new workloads) for which it is difficult to size the infrastructure appropriately before implementing the calculations and/or running them in production
• Workloads that need to optimise HPC cost for multiple low-utilisation, on-premises grids that cannot share resources, grids that peak simultaneously, or with technically incompatible applications.

Pricing and Availability

The solution is available now for beta testing for clients that wish to understand how it can integrate with their systems, understand the level of functionality that the solution brings and compare it with other grid solutions on the market. Various pricing options are available from fully packaged (monthly service and license fee plus infrastructure costs) to a software license fee only. 

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