Consider a common requirement to implement calculations/reports that adhere to the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) standards. These types of reports are often large and complex. The calculations in the reports are specific to a geographical region, so a multi-national company needs to implement different versions of these calculations. Furthermore, over time these calculations have to be adjusted to comply with changing laws.
Traditionally, these calculations have been implemented using custom code, and as a result, suffer from the challenges outlined above, including the high cost of development and maintenance, requirements being lost in translation, the lack of traceability, and the lack of a robust mechanism for making a quick change to a calculation in response to a change in a standard. This is where the power of Excel on Server comes in.
As you may know, Excel on the server is available via in two forms:
Excel Services: Develop a Custom Calculation Engine for Your Apps
This article describes an Excel Services based solution we built for a customer and was published in MSDN Magazine. The entire magazine is available for download here. For ease of access, we have provided a link to just our Excel Services article below:
Develop a Calculation Engine for Your Apps [PDF]
“Big Compute” with Azure HPC Services for Excel
Problems in the financial, scientific and engineering fields often require computations which would take several days or longer if executed on a single computer. Big Compute solutions significantly reduce the solution time dramatically, from days to hours or even less. Big Compute refers to running large-scale applications which utilize large amounts of CPU and/or memory resources. These resources are provided by using a cluster of computers and the applications are distributed across the cluster. The key concept is to distribute the application to run on multiple machines to execute computations simultaneously in parallel. Azure HPC Services for Excel is a key aspect of their Big Compute offerings.
The following blog post describes the work we have done with Azure HPC Services: