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In a press release issued today, IBM announces that their DCCoD solutions will be receiving an upgrade. "Deep Computing Capacity on Demand" is a system in which companies needing extremely powerful systems to do high processing jobs, but not necessarily having a need for their own supercomputer, can rent time on these systems. IBM will be adding Intel's newest Xeons to their System x servers, both in dual and quad core packages, initially to their DCCoD center in New York.
The primary target for these CPUs, it seems, are financial markets customers who want to do trade analysis:
The offering is targeted primarily at financial markets customers, who require additional, high-performance computing power to run intraday and post-trading analytics, for example. The IBM/Intel platform offers a fast, highly secure addition to companies' computing infrastructure which can be used on a flexible basis. The solution can be purchased in increments as small as eight hours a day, five days a week.
The idea of renting processing time is a very old one. In fact, in the earlier days of mainframe computing, especially at research centers or Universities, just about every program you would run on a terminal would be paid for by you based on the amount of time the CPU spent executing your program. With rapid increases in processor development, obviously that model became quickly outdated as the needs for personal computing were far less than what even dirt-cheap chips provide.
There are many businesses now, though, that might want to be able to do extremely in-depth calculations, but the cost of a huge server is prohibitive. That's where these centers come in. While I certainly can't speculate on how much demand for this there is, it does seem to be a form of very specialty computing. You can read the full press release at IBM's site.