Low-Rent Petaflops Could Send Nearshore Providers Flying Up the 'Value Chain'

  Nearshore-providers-flying-upThe news that Amazon is setting up shop in Brazil and is going to soon offer cloud services to Brazilian small businesses raises a question: Will the company someday provide its on-demand supercomputing capabilities there? Currently the service is available only in the parts of the U.S., but if Amazon offers similar compute power in Brazil, or elsewhere in the Latin American region, it could open up some interesting opportunities for nearshore IT providers.

Nearshore outsourcing companies are "moving up the value chain," and having access to much more electronic brainpower could give them a boost even higher and faster.

Amazon's Cluster Compute Eight Extra Large essentially offers instances of on-demand petaflop processing power and storage at prices that would be affordable for many IT providers, software developers, and other outsourcing services. If you wanted to go whole-hog and rent the kind of power available with one of the Top 500 supercomputers — machines like Japan's K Computer, running 10 quadrillion calculations per second — you could get that from Amazon for about $1,000 an hour, according to this report from IDG News.

There are all kinds of things you can do with a few quadrillion calculations per second. Analyze weather patterns and changes to the climate, solve astrophysics problems, delve further into human genetics, design new drugs, simulate everything from rocket trajectories to cancer cell growth, predict business trends, plow through tons of really big data in mere seconds, take business intelligence to entirely new levels . . . and, of course, win at Jeopardy!

Now, these aren't the kinds of things most clients are farming out to nearshore IT companies.... yet. But technology advances are the reason we now have IT outsourcing and BPO to begin with. If savvy, forward-looking nearshore providers grab a hold of the kinds of supercomputing power that Amazon is offering at a relatively reasonable price — or at least at a much lower price than shelling out for a supercomputer rack from IBM or Cray, or even ganging up a cluster of Sony Playstations — there will be opportunities to take on entirely new kinds of work.

Outsourcing at petaflop speeds is coming.