Feeds

Orion pulls the plug on deskside cluster op

When engineers cry

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates will have to wait a little bit longer for his personal supercomputer. The main company driving such a product - Orion Multisystems - has shut down, The Register can confirm.

Orion stood as one of the more interesting Silicon Valley hardware start-ups. It pioneered the market for compact, deskside clusters that give engineers and scientists direct access to supercomputer levels of horsepower. Many saw this approach as an updated take on the computing revolution caused by Sun Microsystems's first workstation some 25 years ago.

Chairman Bill was so impressed with the idea that he called for an Orion-style box under every desk at last year's Supercomputing conference.

"What we see as a key trend here is that we will have supercomputers of all sizes, including ones that will cost less than $10,000 and be able to sit at your desk or in a department," Gates said.

Many of the executives at Orion came from Transmeta, and the company insisted on sticking with Transmeta's low-power chips in its Linux clusters. While questionable to begin with, this strategy proved even tougher to sell as Transmeta pulled away from chip production. In addition, customers seemed to struggle with the idea of having Transmeta chips in their servers, preferring a laptop part from Intel or AMD.

Orion enjoyed plenty of favourable press here and elsewhere, and its idea caught on with other hardware makers. Penguin Computing, for example, makes a personal cluster that is similar in theory to Orion's systems. Orion, however, made a sleeker, more refined system that looked and felt like a PC. Last August, Orion canned 30 per cent of its staff and started hunting for more venture funding. Its closure two weeks ago would seem to indicate the funding never arrived.

Orion officials declined to return our phone calls seeking comment.

We have little doubt that the personal cluster idea will live outside of Orion. Engineers want their horsepower, and someone will give it to them. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
The DRUGSTORES DON'T WORK, CVS makes IT WORSE ... for Apple Pay
Goog Wallet apparently also spurned in NFC lockdown
Cray-cray Met Office spaffs £97m on VERY AVERAGE HPC box
Only 250th most powerful in the world? Bring back Michael Fish
Microsoft brings the CLOUD that GOES ON FOREVER
Sky's the limit with unrestricted space in the cloud
'ANYTHING BUT STABLE' Netflix suffers BIG Europe-wide outage
Friday night LIVE? Nope. The only thing streaming are tears down my face
IBM, backing away from hardware? NEVER!
Don't be so sure, so-surers
Google roolz! Nest buys Revolv, KILLS new sales of home hub
Take my temperature, I'm feeling a little bit dizzy
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.