This week I was in Johannesburg visiting  clients,  and giving a breakfast briefing on the current directions in HPC and Grid in finance from the European Perspective. Sean Cody from Standard bank gave an overview of the regulatory pressures driving technology change, specifically CVA and talked about why a Grid Computing solution is almost essential as a way of meeting requirements.

My focus was on technology,  and in particular on current directions in HPC in finance. I argued that Grid is now a commodity solution and that grid resources and knowledge is now no longer as specialist as it once was. My point is that everyone can have a Grid,  even if it is managed as a service and outsourced, no matter how big,  or small.  There was a lot of interest in cloud technology, and we discussed the general rise n cloud computing solutions as a commodity scale out solution, and we pointed to some notable successes in the banking industry,  such as BankInter in Spain.

The general point though that as yet there is no cloud infrastructure in SA, and that telecomms infrastructure in gegeral is of low quality,  was well made and will slow adoption in this continent somewhat.

I feel that we will soon overcome the general blocks to cloud adoption in banks, because we will have to,  and that Microsoft and other enterprise cloud providers, maybe even amazon,  will ultimately meet the SLA's and provide the connectivity options that allow us not to burst, but to manage and control the growth of our compute estates through the use of their provision.

Other topics of interest were the GPGPU debate, and the new intel MIC architecture, which could well signal the demise of Nvidia's flagship card.

There is a general shift in the industry towards high volume, real time processing.  Real time risk is a current hot topic.  We looked at Data Cache solutions for the rapid distribution of real time market data,  and at  CEP as a potential technology to process event streams and create simple measures and make simple decisions in real time. There was a degree if interest in the possibilities,  but the lack of network capability in SA for now was again a concern.  Things are set to improve in this regard with the implementation of the West African Link SAFE.

Overall South Africa is a technically sophisticated region,  but with some blocks to rapid adoption of new technology. There is certainly a desire and an strong interest to push HPC, Grids and CEP forwards and a need to do so to address regulatory and business issues in the finance space. The South African financial institutions can leapfrog straight to a solution learning from early adopters in europe.  Watch this space!!

Full Presentations here: