Feeds

Pork-stuffed Cray parades CEO and product

Slow smoked profit

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Interview Cray's Peter Ungaro has become fully emergent. Not so much like a fluff-filled executive at a Web 2.0 start-up, but more like a CEO of a manly supercomputing firm ready to brag about his company's latest accomplishments.

Since taking the helm at Cray in 2005, Ungaro has, for the most part, been tucked away at the supercomputer maker's headquarters. Struggling with losses and layoffs, Cray hesitated to send Ungaro out into the wild to face a predatory press.

As it turns out, a fourth quarter profit and $250m in government handouts have transformed Ungaro into a media vehicle.

“We have just been on an incredible roll,” he told us, during a recent interview in San Francisco.

Only a few months ago, Cray's future looked shaky. The company revealed its ambitious “Cascade” plan to create cheaper, more flexible supercomputers but confessed it might not conjure up the funds to build the systems. The Cascade effort hinged on Cray beating out IBM or Sun Microsystems for part of a massive DARPA grant. Thankfully, Cray received word last November that it had knocked Sun out of the supercomputing competition, leaving the vendor with $250m worth of pork.

In February, Cray's financial picture improved again when it turned out a $9m profit on $101m in sales. That quarter marked Cray's first experience with black ink since 2003.

Head shot of Pete Ungaro

Cray's Pete Ungaro

Cray remains a weird sort of public company. Federal funds keep it humming. So, when Washington is spooked and needs to craft some nuclear weapons or make a database to end all databases, Cray's rolling in cash. And when the Feds cut supercomputing budgets, Cray feels the pinch more than other hardware makers who have other customers to pump for money.

Like members of the military complex, Cray provides a national service of sorts. IBM, HP and Sun don't care to do the dirty, demanding customization required of the government in the supercomputing field. There's not enough profit involved for them to bother. So, Cray plugs away, keeping our warheads shiny and our weather modeled.

Ungaro urged that we not focus so much on Cray's US dependence.

“Half of our revenue comes from international sales now,” he said.

Cray has systems all over Europe, close to 20 in Asia, a couple in Africa and one that we know of in South America. The vendor has also handed Canada quite a number of supercomputers.

Ungaro reckons that the business crowd's surging interest in high performance computing will only increase Cray's sales diversity.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Ellison: Sparc M7 is Oracle's most important silicon EVER
'Acceleration engines' key to performance, security, Larry says
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Lenovo to finish $2.1bn IBM x86 server gobble in October
A lighter snack than expected – but what's a few $100m between friends, eh?
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
Troll hunter Rackspace turns Rotatable's bizarro patent to stone
News of the Weird: Screen-rotating technology declared unpatentable
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
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.