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Customer Demand Drives Rapid Growth of High-Performance Computing on Wall Street, Reports New Microsoft Survey


More than 75 percent of capital markets firms plan on expanding their high-performance capacity in the next 12 to 18 months, states survey of more than 150 experts at U.S. firms.

NEW YORK — Capital markets firms are rapidly adding capacity for their high-performance computing environments to meet increased customer demand, and performance, not price, is the primary purchase factor, reports a new survey released today by Microsoft Corp. at the 2007 Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) Technology Management Conference & Exhibit.

The Microsoft High-Performance Computing Capital Markets Survey 2007, sponsored by Microsoft and conducted by New York-based GfK Custom Research North America, found that 78 percent of respondents plan on expanding their high-performance computing capacity in the next 12 to 18 months. This increase is being fueled by customer demand for faster computer-simulated modeling, testing and analysis of financial data.

“High-performance computing is a critical success factor for capital markets firms to expand their businesses, and we’re seeing a real investment in innovative software to make that happen,” said Craig Saint-Amour, director of capital markets solutions in the U.S. Financial Services Group at Microsoft. “This research confirms what we’ve been witnessing in the market — that capital markets firms remain on the cutting edge, and that the dot-com bust of the early 2000s has now turned into a period of reinvestment for firms seeking technologies to help them grow.”

The online survey was conducted in June 2007 and includes responses from high-performance computing users in the capital markets industry. Significant findings include these:

Forty-five percent of respondents reported that customer demand is currently driving the growth of their firm’s high-performance computing needs.

Twenty-four percent of respondents reported that they plan on increasing the capacity of their high-performance computing environments by 1,000 nodes or more in the next 12 to 18 months.

Forty-seven percent reported that performance is the most important factor when purchasing an operating system to run high-performance computing applications.

Eighty-three percent are considering a Microsoft® high-performance computing solution for their next appropriate project.

Sixty-two percent report that Microsoft Office Excel® is the most widely used application in their high-performance computing environment.

Sixty percent are currently using a 64-bit operating system to run their high-performance computing projects.

Sixty-three percent report that they deploy their high-performance computing environments as a centralized or shared utility.

Recent hardware and software advances, such as more powerful, lower-cost processors and the launch of Microsoft Windows® Compute Cluster Server 2003, have made it easier for analysts, traders and portfolio managers to access high-performance computing tasks. As a result, these professionals can easily ascertain the relationship between risks and profitability and quickly perform high-value business functions.

“With the correct high-performance infrastructure in place, capital markets firms can handle larger volumes of data faster and with greater agility,” said Jeff Wierer, senior product manager for high-performance computing at Microsoft. “In addition, firms can reduce time-to-market for innovative product solutions; make smarter, faster trade and risk management decisions; reduce investment and operational risk; and improve profitability.”


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