Feeds

SGI renews Itanium super love (sort of)

AMD shared memory box flirt

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

For a company that has been trying to bolster its position in the supercomputing market for the past several years, Silicon Graphics has been pretty vague about its commitment to future Itanium processors for Intel.

Lucky for the SGI - which is now Rackable Systems with some SGI legacy products and customers - Intel keeps delaying the delivery of the quad-core "Tukwila" Itanium chips, so it never has to come clean and say it will or will not use the processors in future shared-memory supercomputers.

Actually, SGI really does have to do that. But it seems incapable of saying either yes or no to Tukwila, even as it espouses its "commitment" to Itanium as it is building its next-generation "UltraViolet" NUMAlink shared memory supercomputers in the Altix family on Intel's forthcoming "Nehalem EX" or (sometimes called "Beckton") processors.

In the wake of the acquisition of SGI's assets by Rackable on April 1 (at a price that eventually came in at $$2.5m), Rackable Systems - which had only about 300 of its own customers compared to 4,500 for SGI - took the SGI name and set to work rationalizing the two company's product lines. Now that work is done, and SGI is ready to talk a little bit about its plans for the future. Including sales of Rackable's rack servers by its channel partners, SGI now reckons it has over 6,000 customers worldwide and has over 1,300 employees chasing hyperscale and HPC server business.

After the merger and reorganization, SGI has four different product lines, which are basically the same ones it had before. The various lines of rack-based servers are now being given the Rackable brand name, with the Altix XE x64-based rack servers being merged into Rackable's existing 1U, 2U, 3U, and 4U rack half-depth, rack-based servers. The CloudRack C2 cookie sheet servers stay as they were, and so does the Altix ICE 8200 blade-style servers with on-board dual-data rate (20 Gbit/sec) InfiniBand interconnects that were created by the original SGI.

These Altix ICE servers already had support for Intel's quad-core "Nehalem EP" processors for two-socket servers prior to the merger of the lines and remain unchanged for the moment. And finally, there are the Altix 4700 series of machines, which use the NUMAlink clustering technology built by SGI to create a shared-memory supercomputer that can bring 512 dual-core Itanium processors and 100 TB of main memory to bear on big Linux workloads.

Rackable's OmniStore storage line is now merged into SGI's InfiniteStorage arrays. Rounding out the offering is another product with the ICE brand: the ICE Cube containerized data center, which Rackable was pushing along with Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and Sun Microsystems with limited success.

Geoffrey Noer, senior director of product marketing at the new SGI, dodged the direct questions about what SGI would do with regard to the forthcoming Tukwila chips, which are now expected in 2010, several months after the eight-core Nehalem EX processors that share the QuickPath Interconnect (QPI) architecture that made its debut in March with the Nehalem EPs.

Both the Tukwila Itanium and Nehalem EX Xeon processors are designed from the get-go to work in machines that have more than two sockets (although you can use Tukwilas in two-socket servers if you want) and are therefore appropriate for the kickers to the current Altix 4700 shared memory systems. It is not a question of technology, but of what SGI is actually going to do.

"Moving forward, we are looking at ways to cross-pollinate technologies, and we are becoming one company much faster than we anticipated," explains Noer. But when you bring up the Altix 4700 line and the UltraViolet kickers, Noer, like other old SGI executives for the past year, starts hemming and hawing.

"UltraVoilet is Nehalem EX-based, and more details will be available later this year," Noer said. "We're definitely redoubling our effort on this product."

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Next page: Read my Flops

More from The Register

next story
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
729 teraflops, 71,000-core Super cost just US$5,500 to build
Cloud doubters, this isn't going to be your best day
Want to STUFF Facebook with blatant ADVERTISING? Fine! But you must PAY
Pony up or push off, Zuck tells social marketeers
Oi, Europe! Tell US feds to GTFO of our servers, say Microsoft and pals
By writing a really angry letter about how it's harming our cloud business, ta
You think the CLOUD's insecure? It's BETTER than UK.GOV's DATA CENTRES
We don't even know where some of them ARE – Maude
SAVE ME, NASA system builder, from my DEAD WORKSTATION
Anal-retentive hardware nerd in paws-on workstation crisis
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
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.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
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?
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.