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Orchestrating a parallel speed-up

Torrent Systems has a plan to ease the pain of developing parallel processing software: Orchestrate version 2.0.

The coming wave of high-powered, parallel-processing servers promises to make short work of compute-intensive applications, such as electronic commerce and data warehousing systems. But software developers may find themselves working overtime to write the hugely complex parallel software that runs on the systems.

Torrent Systems, a small Cambridge, Massachusetts-based software maker, will next week announce something to ease developers' pain, Orchestrate version 2.0. The software package helps speed up development of parallel processing software.

Orchestrate allows programmers without expertise in developing parallel processing systems to quickly build such applications for data warehousing, data mining, and other applications, the company said. Unlike traditional methods for building parallel software systems, which require months or even years of development time, Orchestrate can cut development cycles to weeks or even days, the company claims, by hiding the complexity of parallel programming.

Developers build Orchestrate applications using a set of prewritten components and by writing C and C++ components from scratch. The components run atop a framework which manages the software's interaction with databases and other systems running on parallel servers.

Orchestrate 2.0, scheduled to ship by mid-year, includes support for parallel hardware from Intel, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, Digital Equipment, and IBM.

Orchestrate also works with parallel processing database software from Informix Software and IBM.

Version 2.0 also adds new tools for monitoring software execution and performance.

Orchestrate is priced at $8,000 per processor.