Feeds

SGI moving to mysterious Altism line

Who, what, when, where?

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

SGI has picked an obvious strategy for a company struggling to stay alive. Frustrate its customers with complete confusion.

Any dolt could understand last week's proposals to cut 12 per cent of SGI's, shuffle a few executives and keep working on bringing costs down. Less clear, however, was SGI's decision to "consolidate its compute server and visualization platform" and to "pursue new markets in the enterprise space." That's because SGI didn't back up these vague statements with any firm details.

We turned to SGI four times over the past week, asking for specific information. What will happen to the Altix and Prism brands? Will SGI look beyond Linux on Itanium to help its new business computing push? Will SGI do any graphics and visualization customization at all?

SGI declined to answer a single one of these questions.

Thankfully, we happen to know a couple of SGI's largest customers - the kind of folks who actually receive information from the graphics beast. In order to help out the rest of you poor, informationless sods, we're going to don SGI's marketing cap for the moment and get out the good word to customers large and small. Here's where SGI is heading according to the insiders.

The big theme stretching over SGI's product reorganization revolves around the ever blurring line between high performance and business computing.

More and more companies desire large, complex systems. The days when the military, researchers and the oil and gas crowd bought all the big systems have come to a close. Myriad large companies can now afford powerful systems and are looking to use this horsepower to boost their business.

So, SGI figured it might as well adjust its product formula to remove a bit of specialization and replace it with a large helping of general purpose computing. This gives SGI a better chance at cracking into accounts running large databases and business software.

On a product level, it looks like this shift means the end of the road for Origin, but then we already saw that coming. More specifically, SGI appears set to stop designing and manufacturing the VPro graphics cards.

In addition, the Origin and Prisim brands will likely merge in a bizarre way. "SGI, when selling their systems, tells people to think of Prisms as Altix machines with graphics cards," said one source. "This is, currently, a marketing notion only, though, since the two lines are pretty incompatible. What SGI is going to do, though, is merge the Altix and Prism *technologies* and produce a single platform. All machines will be Altixes. Those with graphics cards will be *called* Prisms."

SGI is also doing everything it can to improve relations with Oracle. If you have a large cluster and are willing to run Oracle RAC, then SGI will likely lend a helping hand.

Another major attack point for SGI centers around exacting promises from Intel.

A quirk in SGI's NumaFlex shared memory system would have prohibited customers from being able to slot Intel's upcoming dual-core Montecito version of Itanic into existing Madison-based Prism systems. SGI had been expecting to wait for a second rev of Montecito to solve the issue.

Now, Intel has promised to have the Montecito chip working in Prism systems right out of the gate. In addition, Intel has vowed to deliver large volumes of the 1.6GHz versions of Montectio with 9MB of L3 cache in September, one source said. It's not quite clear whether Intel has helped to fix the Montecito problem or if SGI's Altix and Prisim machinations have taken care of the problem on their own.

Will SGI give up on all this Itanic madness and go - dare we say it - for Power or even Opteron? Not bloody likely, said one source.

While a move to Power or Opteron would be painful, we can't see SGI having a future on the Itanic. It looks determined to give Intel's sweaty 64-bit beast another go.

We'd love to provide you with more concrete details about SGI's future, but the company refuses to talk. Quite frankly, we're not sure SGI and its new CEO have a solidified plan for where they hope to take the company. It's all, "Issue vague statments, so it looks like we're doing something" for the moment.

Moving to address a broader market was something SGI should have done years ago.

That said, the company was historically willing to do the little things necessary to keep the government handouts arriving every quarter. It did the dirty work that IBM, HP, Dell and Sun often reject. Moving toward more general purpose machines will cut off some of these past deals while putting SGI in direct competition with much larger, more complete vendors.

At best, SGI can hope to become attractive enough for HP. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
It's Big, it's Blue... it's simply FABLESS! IBM's chip-free future
Or why the reversal of globalisation ain't gonna 'appen
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
Microsoft and Dell’s cloud in a box: Instant Azure for the data centre
A less painful way to run Microsoft’s private cloud
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
CAGE MATCH: Microsoft, Dell open co-located bit barns in Oz
Whole new species of XaaS spawning in the antipodes
AWS pulls desktop-as-a-service from the PC
Support for PCoIP protocol means zero clients can run cloudy desktops
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.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.