March 7, 2002
President and CEO
Next Challenge Is Scaling Up Computing Power
What is the history of your organization’s involvement in life sciences?
Ritchie: Blackstone has served the life sciences market since early 1999, so about three years. For Blackstone’s early life sciences customers, the company applied its strategy/methodology/
technology delivery business model to optimize customer’s scientific computing operations. Similar to today’s approach, Blackstone interviewed the customer to understand business and scientific computing priorities, and then designed and optimized a “compute farm” architecture according to those objectives.
In 1999, Blackstone recognized the need for business-driven computing in technical- and scientific-computing markets, including the life sciences. (Blackstone had been in the electronic design automation/semiconductor design space since 1996.) The life sciences marketplace, like other technical-computing markets, is one where computing operations must be focused on supporting key milestones for business success. Blackstone also recognized the value of complementing its professional services—which optimize infrastructures based on current objectives—with software that would keep infrastructures optimal through market-driven and customer-driven change, and thus PowerCloud software development began in early 2000.
What is your vision for the future of the life sciences market?
Ritchie: The life sciences computing market is still in its infancy. Companies have, for the most part, deployed their own pilot computing infrastructures. Now they are struggling with issues of how to expand infrastructures optimally for multiple applications (entire workflows) and will soon struggle on how to expand that to multiple sites. Blackstone develops software and services that help companies deal with these issues.
Ultimately, what’s important to a life sciences business is accelerating the rate of design and discovery success. We’ve developed our PowerCloud strategic infrastructure software with that goal in mind. To the degree we help companies achieve this, we are helping to advance the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries—and the innovations they bring to humanity.
What organizational assets have you developed to serve this community?
Ritchie: First, the scientific consultants within our Blackstone Professional Services group. With extensive knowledge in science, IT administration, and hardware systems, our consultants evaluate each customer’s specific scientific objectives, recommend long-term process and technology solutions, and implement an optimized and scalable scientific computing infrastructure. Blackstone consultants have expertise in high-throughput design, molecular biology, genetics, physics, chemistry, and computer science. Secondly, Blackstone’s sales organization—at all levels—is made up of seasoned life sciences sales professionals.
What products and services does your company provide to the life sciences market?
Ritchie: Blackstone Computing provides its PowerCloud strategic infrastructure software platform as well as professional services. PowerCloud enables a customer’s business objectives to drive its scientific computing operations and deliver results in accordance with changing business priorities to accelerate business success. The PowerCloud engine, along with its applications, make it possible for a company to measure infrastructure performance, dynamically allocate resources, and rapidly accelerate processes within the computing environment. PowerCloud is made up of an infrastructure server engine, integrated applications, and industry-specific tools.
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