Platform Computing Orchestrates - Sympony 4.1

Platform, if you want potential customers to care about your software in general, and this product in specific, you really must go to the effort to make it very clear what pain its product is intended to address, how it addresses that pain and why people should care about it.

Platform Computing is known, when known at all, for powerful, complex, parallel processing (read high performance computing) software. They have recently launched an update to their product, Symphony that targets financial services workloads.

From what I've been able to determine, the company makes the following claims for Symphony 4.1. My uninformed, and probably stupid, comments follow:

  • The product took 15 to 18 months to develop.
  • The product includes a new feature dubbed "Direct Data Transfer" that "provides users with the ability to transfer applications data directly out to the grid engine without going through the product's infrastructure."
  • Symphony 4.1 also has a data compression capability that reduces the overhead of transferring large amounts of data.
  • This version of the product also makes it possible for multiple instances of a service to share data. This would also reduce the amount of data being transfered about in a Platform grid.
  • Symphony now supports 64-bit Windows and Linux environments

Snapshot analysis

Platform has been on my radar screen for quite a long time (see Platform Computing VM Orchestrator and Conversation with Platform Computing's Songnian Zhou). The company has developed fantastic software and then has trouble passing the reasonal person test with its marketing.

That is, they seldom answer basic questions such as:

  • "What does this product really do?"
  • "Why should I care?"
  • "Why is this approach better than that offered by competitors?" or
  • "How much work will this product be for my team and what benefits will the company obtain through the use of this product?"

Although I would not be at all surprised if this product is very powerful and would be of great use to the target market, finding out what this product actually does and what improvments were added proved to be quite dificult. It made me wonder would finding out about this product be more trouble than a reasonable IT decision maker would accept?

Unasked for shoot-from-the-hip advice

Platform, if you want potential customers to care about your software in general, and this product in specific, you really must go to the effort to make it very  clear what pain its product is intended to address, how it addresses that pain and why people should care about it.

This announcement only made it clear that:

  1. This product took over a year to develop
  2. It addresses the fact that previous products didn't handle large amounts of data gracefully
  3. Platform has finally gotten around to support 64-bit editions of Windows and Linux. Since these operating systems have been available for years, it is somewhat surprising that it has taken this long to offer a version of Symphony that made full use of the capabilities of these systems and this software.

Platform, do you agree that none of these messages are helpful to busy customers trying just to understand what you're doing?