SGI is continuing its attempt to move into the volume market by coming out with a new family of servers running both Microsoft Windows NT and the Linux open source operating system.
The move follows the firm's first entry into the Windows NT market at the start of this year (see VNU Newswire, 12 January, 1999) and its commitment to Linux at the start of this month (see VNU Newswire, 20 July, 1999) to add new revenue streams to its core business.
The company's traditional Mips boxes, unlike its new Intel based machines, are aimed at the graphics market and run its own Unix variant, Irix.
The two new Intel IA-32 servers, which are due to ship by the middle of August in Europe, are the SGI 1400M, which runs NT, and the SGI 1400L, which supports Linux. The one to four way machines will be upgraded to run the IA-64 chip when it arrives, however.
Hank Shiffman, SGI's strategic technologist, said the company's decision to support Linux was the result of its desire not to be tied to Microsoft's development path, and it was putting "more than ten times the number of programmers" behind Linux than the Microsoft operating system."
"We have a big developer effort behind Linux because there is more opportunity for enhancements and features on top of Linux. With Microsoft, you are tied to their future releases. As soon as we have the capability, we want to get it out," he continued.
But he added that the two servers would address "two different sorts of customers. "We would not try to make an all Microsoft shop go for Linux and likewise, a company with a long history and belief in Unix will not want to go to Windows NT," he explained.
But he recognised that SGI would face heavy competition selling Windows NT servers against the likes of rivals, IBM, Dell and Compaq.
"We recognise we have significant competitors, but we offer a different set of capabilities, especially in Linux where we are offering full support," he claimed.
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