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JP Morgan Goes Grid

As part of an ambitious plan to slash data center costs and boost performance, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. has replaced a supercomputer and a mixture of high-end servers with a 4,000-processor grid built from low-cost servers.

Speaking at the High Performance on Wall Street conference in New York today, Adrian Kunzle, J.P Morgans managing director of architecture, explained that the grid, which links 10 data centers across three continents, now forms the bank’s technology backbone. “We have broken the silo mentality,” he said. “We’re starting to get an organization that’s more accustomed to sharing.”

By 2007, predicts Kunzle, J.P Morgan will be able to run a credit risk scenario in 30 minutes that would have previously taken eight hours.

The bank implemented the grid three years ago in an attempt to consolidate a complex mix of technologies. At that time, J.P. Morgan relied on a supercomputer to provide much of its number-crunching, as well as a hodgepodge of high-end servers from four different vendors. To make matters even more complicated, J.P Morgan also employed four separate operating systems.

J.P. Morgan was not getting what it needed from its systems. “We were getting somewhere near 30 percent utilization,” Kunzle said. This led the bank to standardize “on cheap hardware” from just three vendors and a single operating system. As a result, said Kunzle, J.P. Morgan can now tap into 70 percent of its overall data center capacity.

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