JP Morgan Chase is the world’s third largest bank holding company, with assets totalling $1.2 trillion and operations in 50 countries. But despite its size, the bank prefers to keep the bulk of its infrastructure work inhouse. Two years ago, it hit the headlines when it pulled out of a $5 billion, seven-year contract with IBM and bought part of its IT infrastructure and 4,000 staff back inhouse. But it still outsources parts of the business where appropriate. In December, it announced plans to move nearly a third of its backoffice and support staff offshore by the end of 2007.

Grid computing is key to its IT strategy. Last year, the bank replaced a supercomputer and high-end servers with a 4,000 processor grid, built from low-cost servers, which links 10 datacentres across three continents. By 2007, the bank estimates this new integrated backbone will help it cut the time taken to run a credit risk scenario from eight hours to just 30 minutes.

A strong relationship with Sun also figures in its grid plans. The lines between vendor and customer became blurred when JP Morgan announced it was joining forces with Sun to co-develop technology projects running on the Solaris 10 operating system. The bank will use Sun’s products for data archiving and virtual datacentres. “JP Morgan is pleased to be working closely with Sun in implementing their newest technologies, including Solaris 10 OS,” says Adrian Kunzle, vice president and global co-head of investment bank technology architecture.