When Platform Computing began as a company in 1992, computers were used by large organizations much like they had been for several previous decades. If a complex computing job needed to be run, it would be run on one machine, often only during certain times in the day. There was no widespread use of clusters or computing clouds. Computational research that now takes several days or weeks to complete used to take many months or years.
The first commercial project that Platform Computing undertook, according to an interview on HPCintheCloud.com with Platform CEO Songnian Zhou (the interview appears to have been removed from the site), was to help the engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney design the engines for the new Boeing 777 airliner. Zhou describes how supercomputers were used back then:
At that time, they were using one Cray supercomputer rather than IBM mainframes to do it — and every night they would run one job. One job! Per night! Using that one Cray they had to explore all the parameters — how big or small, how many blades, and so on — all the design alternatives; that takes dozens and dozens of runs. They had to run half a year, which is of course a big problem for their product cycle to serve the airlines and their customers.
Platform Computing sought to change the way organizations such as Pratt & Whitney used supercomputers. Instead of running one job on one computer at a time, Platform pioneered the use of software to break up complex jobs to be performed on many computers connected together in one computer cluster. The airline and automotive industries, according to Zhou, were the early adopters of this technology and used it to speed up and simplify their design simulations.
Today, cloud computing and clustering have become industry standards, and there are now many companies that offer software and other services to facilitate them. Platform Computing still specializes in private clouds (a network of computers in the same facility most likely owned by the same organization) and community clouds (a network of computers owned and shared exclusively by a few organizations) which means that they cater towards large corporations and organizations that can afford purchasing large clusters.
Public clouds, the type most people think of when they talk about cloud computing, is facilitated mostly by other companies, although Platform has made an effort to reach out to smaller businesses and organizations in 2010.
If you are interested in Platform Computing software for clustering or private clouds, feel free to contact ICC and we can talk to you about the different options they have available to take full advantage of your computing hardware resources.