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SGI Clutches At Linux Lifeline

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Silicon Graphics supplants its proprietary IRIX operating system with Linux in order to enter the supercomputer field.

So which bit of news is more surprising: SGI going with Linux, or SGI still being in business?

It’s been a long long time since I attended a tech session hosted by SGI, where it debuted 64 bit computing in the Nintendo 64 game console. Isn’t 64-bit computing suddenly the Apple of Steve Jobs’ eye, the next frontier for Windows users when Longhorn comes to market?

Where the heck has SGI been all these years? As it turns out, they’ve been working on lower cost mid-range servers (the Altix 330) and storage arrays (the InfiniteStorage S330).

The Altix 330 will be available in the under-$7,000 USD price range, and can be configured with either Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Novell’s SUSE Linux distribution. SGI claims the Altix 330 will have the performance of the world’s fastest Linux server family packed into a 1U (1.75 inch) high case the size of a pizza box.

SGI’s InfiniteStorage S330 will price around $12,599, roughly half of previous SGI solution prices. The S330 allows users to store and manage from 2.8TB to more than 16TB of data in direct-attached storage (DAS), network-attached storage (NAS), or storage area network (SAN) configurations.

“With so many customers moving to Linux and away from systems based on proprietary processor architectures, the time is right for SGI to broaden its market for Altix systems and InfiniteStorage solutions,” said Warren Pratt, senior vice president, SGI.

SGI has a history of making impressive hardware. Could the adoption of Linux as its operating system software bring about a SGI renaissance? Even with sufficient marketing and field sales education, SGI still has to contend with Dell and IBM in the marketplace. That may present odds even the Altix 330 can’t compute.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

SGI Clutches At Linux Lifeline
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