Many financial institutions and members of the finance industry are adapting grid technology to gain an edge in the marketplace.
Traders and risk managers win business by getting data to market first, said Adam Vile, head of Grid and High Performance Computing at Excelian, during a recent EGEE Industry Day in Pisa, Italy. Excelian focuses on providing IT solutions to financial businesses.
Businesses have an unprecedented level of data to cope with today. Many are using increasingly complex financial instruments and the standards of the Basel-II accord, expected to be implemented in 2008, which place banks and banking regulators under more stringent requirements for risk management.
"This means that financial institutions need to generate reports more frequently and more accurately," said Vile. "Additionally, absolute guarantees on timely completion of operations are making Service Level Agreements a key driver. All this is leading to an exponential increase in computing requirements."
"The grid is good news"
With these needs, "the grid is good news," says Vile. "Not only does it give higher throughput and the ability to manage more resources, but it also guarantees resilience and scalability, which ensures there can be more room for computing power. The infrastructure providers can drive up utilisation and reduce maintenance and management costs."
Some institutions are now moving towards enterprise grid solutions, or business-focused grids, that offer resource rental and guaranteed Service License Agreements.
Data-caching tools, to address data bottlenecks caused by large grids, are also becoming more common.
There will always, however, be the need for more computing power. In the future so-called "golden nodes," providers of specialist hardware and HPC resources, are likely to thrive. These "nodes" help financial institutions update their existing grid fabric for enhanced performance and lower power consumption. A major challenge will be to find ways of getting even more computing for as little electrical power as possible.
The future will likely see more collaborative utility computing and larger enterprise-level grids, sharing resources across departments, and possibly across regions. Despite remaining concerns about the need for SLAs and loss of resource control, grids will likely play a key role in future technology for the finance sector.
- Stephanie Parker, Chair, EGEE Industry Forum