Billions of dollars. Fractions of milliseconds. Time is literally money as transaction requests vie for precious processing resources or jam their way through network bottlenecks. Ask any enterprise IT executive, and they'll agree that accelerating performance across all the systems and networks and interfaces in their datacenters is the hardest part of their job -- and a constantly moving target.
The fastest servers in the world lose a lot of their value if database lookups aren't similarly optimized. Storage networking still makes customers pick between performance and cost. The problem is not every application, transaction, or customer requires turbo-charged response times. So how to differentiate and prioritize based on the transaction value, seasonal demand, network outages, and 50,000 other variables that customers or line-of-business managers can't control? Financial services -- whether they're investment accounts, commercial banking, or insurance products -- live and die by the speed at which the transaction can be completed.
So ask anyone who's ever had to buy, build, maintain, or upgrade a high-performance application server or storage array: Datacenters can only run as fast as their slowest pieces. It's like tapping the brakes on application performance. And it's a conundrum that the smartest researchers, brightest MBAs, and most experienced CTOs have just never been able to crack definitively.
But two technology remedies are showing a lot of promise here: application acceleration and high-performance computing. Everyone benefits when applications can be fine-tuned based on customer requirements, real-time demand, and network conditions. Improving the underlying database infrastructure, along with the way the application uses that data, isn't just smart -- it may create a sizable competitive advantage. Left unaddressed, this antiquated infrastructure can look forward to the day when it's sold at auction for pennies on the dollar -- along with the rest of the dead enterprise's infrastructure.
Datacenter Acceleration is the online community for IT executives and IT professionals in the financial services sector whose job is to make applications run faster. Blogs, message boards, and live chats with seasoned networking professionals will be the currency of this community as its members explore best-practices; trade tips for fine-tuning servers, databases, and storage arrays; and find new ways to derive the maximum performance from their most strategic applications.
Editor in Chief
John W. Verity has been writing for many years about the computer industry, concentrating primarily on the enterprise market. He has been a staff reporter and editor at Electronic News, Datamation, BusinessWeek, ComputerLetter, and Venture Capital Analyst. As a freelancer, he has had articles published in CFO, Fortune, The New York Times, ComputerWorld, Smart Enterprise, and Technology Review. John also has written for a number of IT suppliers and consulting firms including SAP, CA, Nokia, Cisco Systems, Perot Systems, and PricewaterhouseCoopers.