Feeds

SGI chief outlines roadmap out of mortuary

Yesterday's Google has plans for tomorrow

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

Dennis McKenna has been in one of the technology industry's most thankless jobs for five months. No, he's not in Itanium marketing, or even Wikipedia's press officer. The CEO has the task of nursing one of Silicon Valley's most storied names, Silicon Graphics Inc., out of bankruptcy. And as you might expect, he reckons the only way for yesterday's Google is up.

McKenna was in London outlining his plans this week, and he dwelt tantalizingly, and briefly, on some of the issues we've highlighted recently. Particularly Rick Belluzo's brief trail of destruction through the company. But more on that in a moment.

In the early 1990s, SGI was an icon of technological omnipotence. It was feted by politicians and lauded in the popular press as the technology company that had the potential to do anything, and be everywhere. It was simply cleverer and more stylish than any rival, we were told, and had the profits to prove it. SGI filed for bankruptcy protection last month, and its Mountain View offices are now occupied by its successor in the media iconography, Google.

So where did SGI go wrong, then, Dennis?

"SGI made three acquisitions - spent a lot of time integrating them, and they all were sold... They bought high and sold low."

SGI also abandoned its MIPS architecture for Itanic - although McKenna was careful not to give the impression that he thought IA-64 was a dead end. SGI sold just 230 IA-64 systems in the last quarter, down from 244 a year earlier.

SGI was bullish about Intel roadmaps now, and thought its loyalty would finally begin to pay dividends.

"Opteron has won the last twelve months' fashion show. But people don't make buying decisions based on the past. We think Intel's Woodcrest..." - and brace yourselves, here, dear readers - "... will take Opteron to the woodshed."

(We wish we hadn't heard that either)

"We will see what will happen in two years," he added, sounding a fairly pragmatic note of caution.

It's clear, however, that McKenna sees much more growth in commodity Intel chips than in the boutique 64-bit behemoth. SGI's future is in bundled clusters, tuned for vertical markets.

Which verticals? Archiving and storage, he said. Storage was SGI's best kept secret he claimed, something that's been true for a long time. Selling the kit has always been the problem.

We wondered why with the post 9/11 "pork boom" - government defense contracts focusing on data mining - as well as an added urgency to the business of energy resources exploration, SGI hadn't capitalized on what should have been a promising time in its traditional markets?

SGI had been outdone by cheaper solutions, McKenna said, bluntly. But some customers had tried commodity Linux clusters and just didn't get the performance. Collaborative tools also offered SGI some potential growth.

Now to the interesting bit.

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
SHOCK and AWS: The fall of Amazon's deflationary cloud
Just as Jeff Bezos did to books and CDs, Amazon's rivals are now doing to it
VVOL update: Are any vendors NOT leaping into bed with VMware?
It's not yet been released but everyone thinks it's the dog's danglies
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
The triumph of VVOL: Everyone's jumping into bed with VMware
'Bandwagon'? Yes, we're on it and so what, say big dogs
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.