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SuSE and SGI want to help Linux grow up together.

SGI has decided to start shipping SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 on its Altix 3000 servers. SGI has been doing the large Linux SMP thing for awhile with its own version of the OS. But with the help of SuSE, SGI reckons it can speed Linux's march into the data center and have a 128 processor system ready by next year.

SGI made this move for some obvious reasons. Partnering with SuSE gives customers a popular platform to pick. SGI does a lot of custom work for its niche in the high end graphics and visualization market, but standard software is always welcome. SGI and its users can now tap into the SuSE application and support base.

The one downer of the whole standards strategy is SGI's use of Itanium chips in the Altix systems. Intel's 64bit chip is anything but a standard with sales coming in very slow thus far. The performance is there, but customers' desire to move code to the EPIC instruction set is not.

SuSE is hoping the deal can extend its place in the high performance computing realm. SuSE's OS is typically found on one and two processor Web servers not the huge systems made by SGI.

This process, however, will take some time. Most analysts agree that mature versions of Unix such as SGI's own IRIX OS have an edge over Linux on the SMP. Customers spending millions of dollars per server tend to like software that has been put through years of testing. But in the end, you have to start somewhere, and SuSE and SGI are a nice fit.

SGI says it has over 100 large Linux on Itanium installations. The company will continue to deliver its own version of Linux along with SuSE with both companies providing support as needed.

SGI does not plan to ink a similar deal with Red Hat anytime soon. ®

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