Schwab Gets Boost From IBM Grid

Charles Schwab says it has realized big productivity gains by working with IBM on Grid computing solutions at Schwab’s San Francisco headquarters.

The first Grid research and development project, just completed, focused on maximizing processor efficiency and reduced the processing time on a financial application from more than four minutes to 15 seconds, the companies said. Schwab and IBM are now looking to expand Grid research into other areas of Charles Schwab’s business.

“We believe that Grid computing built and designed around open standards has the potential to greatly improve our quality of service and be a truly disruptive technology that can help us improve our business,” said Oren Leiman, managing director of advanced technology at Charles Schwab.

IBM, which launched a broad push into commercial Grid computing on Monday, and Schwab’s Advanced Technology Group took an existing application that ran on non-IBM systems and Grid-enabled it with the open source Globus Toolkit running RedHat Linux on IBM eServer xSeries 330 machines. The recently completed tests applied complex numerical methods in a dedicated environment to an existing wealth management application. The Grid “enablement” reduced the processing time on the application from more than four minutes to 15 seconds, the companies said. If fully implemented, this could allow Schwab to increase customer satisfaction by responding to inquiries at a faster pace.

Sun Not Impressed

Sun Microsystems, however, said it was unimpressed by IBM’s latest Grid initiatives.

Sun’s chief competitive officer, Shahin Khan, released the following statement on the IBM announcement:

“IBM’s entry into Grid computing will serve to grow a market in which Sun has well-established leadership. Sun welcomes IBM to the Grid computing game. As the leading systems vendor in this space, Sun understands that most organizations want an evolutionary process, not one that is revolutionary. Most customers prefer to start with smaller Grids, and then grow and evolve their Grids as their computing needs change. Sun’s focus has been on meeting our customers’ desire to grow step-by-step into Grid computing. And that’s why we have had such tremendous success in this space, with more than 6,500 Grids that have been deployed based on Sun ONE Grid Engine software to date.

“Sun has been deploying grids for more than two years now in the corporate world, including Grids for Ford Motor Company, Sony Semiconductors, SAAB Automobile, Motorola and GlobeXplorer. Sun has also played a key role in massive academic and research Grids, including the Ohio State Supercomputing Center, Germany’s Aachen University, Canada’s National Research Council, Japan’s University of Tokyo, and the United Kingdom’s National Grid at Edinburgh University.

“The message that IBM seems to be delivering today is, ‘We’ve noticed that Grid computing is important and if you tell us you want one, we’ll try to pull one together with services and partners.’ At Sun, we have the technology, experience and services to help customers build the size and type of Grid they need today – from smaller cluster Grids to the most advanced global Grids.”