Back in June of last year I wrote about our partnership with Microsoft and our plans to work together on a solutions for scaling out computations on Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. Since then Microsoft and us both released joint material (see here on MSDN) and held joint events promoting the solution. The most up-to-date white paper on the solution can be found here.
But now, Owen Taylor produced a screencast that describes the Microsoft-GigaSpaces joint "Excel That Scales" solution, in which he walks you through the problem and the solution.
In many organizations -- for example in capital markets and oil & gas exploration -- Excel is used widely for complex computations and analytics. Excel is a flexible tool that many people are familiar with, so over time huge investments have been made in creating complex analytical models in Excel. However, it was never designed to be an enterprise-grade analytical tool. As data volumes are growing, the need to have real-time information is intensifying and the number of users who wish to share the same computational logic and data is increasing, desktop-based Excel spreadsheets could no longer handle the loads. Also, the functions they perform are becoming mission-critical and valuable time and information could be lost in case of failure.
Enter the GigaSpaces solution. It combines the best of both worlds: Excel as the front-end and the power of your data center -- through GigaSpaces as the scale-out, highly-reliable application server - -at the back-end. In other words, the logic and the data are handled server-side with enterprise-grade reliability and performance.