Digipede Tapping Microsoft Developer Channel

The company is hoping to ride Microsoft's channel coattails with its technology that enables .Net developers to scale out their applications without changing the code.

Digipede Technologies just might be Microsofts secret weapon for scaling out and grid-enabling .Net applications, and the company is hoping to ride the Microsoft developer wave.

John Powers, chief executive of Oakland, Calif.-based Digipede, said the Digipede Network enables .Net developers to write applications that can scale to grid environments the same way they write applications that run on one machine.

Indeed, the Digipede technology has gained notoriety among some of Microsofts .Net evangelists, who are now singing the gospel of Digipede, Powers said. And Digipede is hoping to tap Microsofts channels to see more Digipede technology get into the hands of Microsoft partners and customers, he said.

"Microsoft has many channels," Powers told eWEEK in an interview. "And the .Net evangelists are advocates for our solution because they see that we can help Microsoft architects and developers scale out their applications to many boxes," Powers said he attended the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Boston on July 11-13 to meet more Microsoft partners.

"We want to make friends with the Microsoft channel," Powers said. "Weve worked with other ISVs, and were starting to work with integrators and hardware manufacturers" on partnerships to help customers grid-enable applications.

At the SIA (Securities Industry Association) Technology Management Conference in New York on June 21, Microsoft and its partners, which included Hewlett-Packard and Digipede, demonstrated what the software giant said could become the standard modeling and trading platform of the future.

Powers said Digipede is working with HPs Industry Standard Server team and Microsofts Financial Services Group to adapt new offerings from Microsoft, such as Windows Compute Cluster Server, to the needs of major financial services customers.

Meanwhile, Powers said Digipede decided to release the Digipede Network Developer Edition as a free offering to get more .Net developers to look at it.

"The special sauce is the ability to distribute .Net objects so they execute and come back where they started," Powers said.

"I think perhaps the single most important aspect of our approach to grid computing is that we dont force developers to change their approach to applications," said Nathan Trueblood, vice president of client services at Digipede. "Grid and parallel programming environments in the past have required the developer to adopt a new programming approach in order to take advantage of the additional computing power."

Moreover, Digipedes object-oriented approach—developers simply designate their objects for remote execution on the Digipede Network and Digipede will take care of the rest—means that developers dont have to think about plumbing, Web services and so on, to take advantage of greater scalability, Trueblood said.

"They can take advantage of the scalability we offer without having to re-architect or make extensive changes to their existing code," Trueblood said.


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Powers said developers can write applications with as few as 20 lines of code and have it scale using the Digipede Network. However, "its not magic; you have to have an application that can be broken into independent tasks," he said.

"There are certainly other ways to distribute .Net applications, but why invest your own time and expertise worrying about distributed computing instead of worrying about what can give you competitive advantage," Powers said.

Meanwhile, Powers said Digipede can boast two major new customers: financial services firm Smith Breeden Associates and the Friedrich Miescher Institute biomedical research facility.

Digipede officials note that the companys technology is not only for new applications; it also can support older generation or legacy applications.

Trueblood said Digipede has worked hard to be backward-compatible with earlier Microsoft development technologies such as Visual Basic, C++, and COM (Component Object Model). "This means that the Digipede Network can distribute legacy command-line applications, COM components, VB applications, etc. while providing a migration path to more elegant scalability of objects using our .Net API," he said.


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