Platform Computing flexes grid software

Platform Computing has rolled out a version of its grid software designed for the financial industry, saying the release will help customers to make better use of compute resources by enabling multiple applications to be managed and share resources across a grid.

Symphony 3, which is expected to be generally available June 30, works with Platform's Enterprise Grid Orchestrator (EGO) technology to let IT executives manage disparate applications and make sure each one gets the compute resources it needs.

Platform, which competes with such companies as DataSynapse, introduced EGO last summer in an effort to move its grid software from its high-performance computing niche into the enterprise. To do that, Platform executives knew they needed to offer more granular management capabilities, including the ability to consolidate geographically dispersed compute resources and allocate workloads based on business-driven policies, Platform executives say.

On the other hand, Symphony was designed to give companies the capability to pool compute resources and shorten the time it takes to run financial workloads, such as pricing and risk analysis. For the most part, applications were run separately within the Symphony framework, says Martin Harris, product manager at Platform Computing.

Symphony 3 combines the financially focused software with EGO's stepped-up management capabilities.

"What we've done [with Symphony 3] is made it so that all of the applications using the grid resources are running through a common foundation," he says. "So from an IT-management standpoint, from an internal-billing standpoint, it really gives the organization complete control."

That means that IT managers can set business-driven priorities for the different applications running on the grid, he says. Customers manage the grid and the applications running on it through a Web-based console.

"So, for example, one line of business may have a trading application, and that application will be provisioned a certain number of resources, but it only uses them for a certain period of the day," Harris says. "What EGO will allow customers to do with Symphony is take those idle resources and share them across lines of business."

As a result, customers should see utilization rates rise from about 30 percent to 95 percent or more, he says.

Symphony 3, which uses an agent on each server to orchestrate resource sharing, supports a variety of operating systems, including Windows, Linux and Solaris. Most deployments run on standard, x86 hardware, Harris says.

Symphony is priced per CPU, but varies depending on the deployment, Harris says.

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