Icame to SaaScon hoping to find an intersection between grid computing and software as a service. In this morning's session from Sun and Callidus, I found the nexus.
Callidus provides compensation tools for very large (> $1B annual sales) corporations; their tools use models to figure out compensation for individuals, to fine-tune incentive programs, to improve the channels, etc. For the last several years, they've offered both on-premise or on-demand versions of their toolset.
In the session this morning, Callidus VP Shanker Trivedi detailed how Callidus dealt with the widely-variable resource need that their on demand customer base creates. Everyone does payroll at the same time, and they have to handle millions of transactions to properly account for payroll. That means that twice a month they have immense computational needs.
Their solution, by the way, is Java based.
So what did they do? They turned to Sun Grid. As far as I could tell, Sun was already helping them with hosting their applications on its servers. For Callidus's huge computational needs, they simply ported their app to run on SunGrid, Sun's on-demand compute utility. Now, they have dynamic access to all of the computes they need--and they pay by the CPU hour.
This is the reason I came to SaaScon: to find out if there is an intersection between grid computing and SaaS. Just as I had imagined, the need is out there.
For Callidus, the choice to use SunGrid was an obvious one: they didn't want to host it themselves, and their app was written in Java. Sun had the perfect tool.
Of course, not everyone is in the same situation. Dan'l Lewin wrote a column the other day espousing the view that Microsoft has a great platform for SaaS; you should check it out.
Now, if any of those companies that have made the decision to use the Microsoft stack would like to investigate options for grid computing on that platform...well, they should send me an e-mail.