Responding to insatiable international demand for utilities management systems, Auckland-based software company Peace Computers has bought a supercomputer and is hiring staff in a significant expansion of its development centre.
Peace Software CEO and founder Brian Peace says the company, which currently employs 60 developers to work on its customer information and billing system Energy, expects to have 300 development staff working here by 2001.
The expansion will support Peace Software’s assault on the US and Canadian utilities markets which are both in the midst of deregulation. Year 2000 compliance is also a major issue with energy companies. Peace says that to meet the demand, Peace Software is constantly recruiting computer science and commerce graduates and has close links with all the country’s universities.
“Developing in New Zealand gives us a price advantage when we’re making international bids,” he says, because of lower costs and a weaker exchange rate. “We want to invest in our development centre, build the intellectual capital in New Zealand and enhance New Zealand’s reputation as a development centre.”
The company recently purchased the SGI Origin 2000 Server, a multi-rack system with 32-mip RISC 10000 64-bit chips, 8Gb of memory and half a terabyte of storage.
“We’ll be able to have hundreds of developers accessing the system at the same time,” Peace says. “We can already deliver a half-million-customer site in six to eight months whereas in the US it takes about two years.”
Peace Software will also use the server to demonstrate the scalability of its software, thus proving its ability to cope with the large customer bases of North American customers. Current North American accounts include BC Gas, Enron and InSite.
In Australia and New Zealand, Energy software services more than 500,000 customers.
Peace will use the Origin 2000 to benchmark Energy against the site-specific requirements of US and Canadian utility companies.