Feeds

Pork-stuffed Cray parades CEO and product

Slow smoked profit

Security for virtualized datacentres

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.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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
IBM storage revenues sink: 'We are disappointed,' says CEO
Time to put the storage biz up for sale?
'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!
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
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.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.