Feeds

SGI delisted, becomes penny stock

Whispers of immortality

High performance access to file storage

Silicon Graphics Inc today issued a melancholy press release confirming that it has been kicked off the New York Stock Exchange, and will now trade as a "penny stock".

The news will bring a shudder to many in Silicon Valley for whom SGI was not simply an employer - and many Reg friends have passed through its doors - but a company that represented the heady elixir of what untrammeled engineering prowess may achieve when married to some fairly intoxicating dreams.

SGI was the high-bandwidth, visualization-rich, media-savvy computer systems company that flourished in a decade when media pundits clamored for a winner in what they called "the convergence space". SGI obliged, and spared nothing - for a while its budgets were flush for R&D and fancy architecture.

"The engineering budget was a firehose they couldn't turn off," Larry McVoy once told us.

While other companies could barely muster a showroom, SGI built expensive "theatres" to showcase its kit, and it worked: there was no shortage of customers in data mining, government, science research and Hollywood to buy SGI's first class systems.

But as one reader who mournfully passed on the news to us tells it -

"SGI had the most wonderful technology coupled with lethally inept management. I bought one of their monster servers to do genetics research in the late 90s and they walked all over every other vendor we saw. These guys were the bomb where HPC was concerned."

"Then came a few years of pure craziness: the workstations running a special version of NT; the Itanium clusters; abysmal quality control on the O2 and Octane workstations; selling off their great broadcast technology to Kasenna; ignoring the inroads that Linux was making into render farms."

"Oh, SGI, we loved you and you screwed up. Bigtime."

SGI failed to foresee not only the rise of cheap, commoditized render farms running Linux but the astonishing increases in 3D graphics performance from NVidia, available at low cost to any PC user. So TV viewers tuning into 2003's network spectacular - the US invasion of Iraq - saw maps rendered not on Onyx clusters but on Keyhole's simple PC technology, over the web. Keyhole was started by, and largely staffed by former SGI employees.

Today Google occupies the place in the popular media's consciousness as the wish fulfillment company, the place where all dreams come true. And Google also occupies SGI's spectacular high tech offices by the sand dunes on Shoreline Boulevard. And Google bought Keyhole, and renamed it, and made available to you as "Google Earth".

Are those Shoreline dunes haunted? Surely not. But SGI's spectacular rise and fall should give any company so drunk on its own technical prowess and media kudos, just a moment's pause for thought. ®

Related link

SGI Securities to Cease NYSE Trading - press release

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich
New 'Atlas of ICT Activity' finds innovation isn't happening at Silicon Roundabout
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.