Tuesday, September 18, 2007

HPC Conference Thoughts

Yesterday's HPC On Wall Street conference could be summed up in one word .... PACKED! I thought that this would be a sleepy little conference, with a few crazy architects from a few IBs and hedge funds walking around. When I got there, I could not even move through the (very narrow) aisles that the vendors were set up in. I would guess that there must have been 700-800 people at this conference, and it is at these times that I am thankful that I am not a lightweight, as I merrily tossed my compatriots all over the Roosevelt Hotel in my quest to get to the conference rooms.

The two panels that I went to were, unfortunately, complete wastes of time. Even some of the panelists that I spoke to afterwards were half-embarassed to be on the folically-challenged panels. (I am still wondering what Gideon Low from Gemstone was doing up there in the session on Multicores and Market Data .. although he DID manage to come up with better answers than the Chief Architect of Fidelity!). It only reinforces my opinion that if you are doing something unique and important, your company will never let you speak about it on a panel!

And, thanks to the people from Bear Stearns, who during our lunch with a vendor, planted themselves at our lunch table and managed to kill our conversations.

I was heartened to see a constant flow of traffic at the Digipede booth. In several square meters, you could talk to Microsoft (CCS), Digipede, and Platform (who were displaying at the IBM booth). I was disappointed to see one CEP vendor there (Aleri).

The most interesting new player was STAC, who purports to be an "independent" kind of lab, where both vendors and customers can go to in order to get evaluations and benchmarking done .... sort of like a Consumer Reports magazine. One interesting comment from them was that, in their early experience, some of the claims about feature sets that various vendors make do not actually hold up when it came time to implement the vendors' products. An independent lab for the securities industry is long overdue, and it is heartening to see vendors contribute hardware to STAC in order to "bootstrap" their operations. The two main guys from STAC are ex-Reuters guys, and so you know that they have good experience in market data systems.

There were some real small players (like RTI in the messaging space) who might be ripe for joint ventures or investment. Seeing these guys work the floor reminded me of my days as a software vendors going exhibiting at shows ... an absolutely exhausting experience.

My colleagues have told me that the HPC show has grown exponentially over the past four years .... if I grows any more, then the Roosevelt Hotel is going to have to abandon the cattle car approach, or else, I am going to have to put on a few more pounds!

©2007 Marc Adler - All Rights Reserved

1 comment:

Dan Ciruli said...

I agree entirely -- that show rocked. The content was good, the booths were all *real* booths (nary a booth babe or tchotchke bag in site). And, as a booth owner, I thought the attendees were very high quality--people actually interested in content. We will definitely be back next year.