Silicon Graphics (SGI) is attempting to grab a share of the mid-range technical computing market with a new 64-bit Intel Linux system, the Altix 350.
The server, running 64-bit Linux on 1-16 Intel Itanium2 processors, can run the same programs, unchanged, as SGI's flagship Altix 3000, and will be sold mostly through the channel.
SGI's UK marketing director, John Masters, said: "There is no margin to sell direct, so SGI is recruiting resellers with an understanding of high-performance computing, able to sell a solution."
Masters acknowledged the company's entrenched competition and inertia among users, but maintained that SGI had a good name at the top end.
Tony Lock, chief analyst at Bloor Research, said: "SGI is going for a very tough market but it's a move it needed to take. SGI's technology appeals to a far wider base [than previously targeted]. But it has got to promote it big time to get the message to people never reached before."
SGI will concentrate on its traditional vertical markets: science and education, defence, media, manufacturing and energy. Within these, it will focus on the three key niches of departmental systems, technical databases and high throughput clusters.
The company expects to sell heavily to its user base with Altix 3000-compatible departmental and development systems. It has sold around 7,500 Altix 3000 systems averaging 50 processors since launch about a year ago.
The largest single Altix 3000 system is the maximum 512 processors at Nasa. The University of Manchester's National Supercomputing Centre has 256 processors, while Professor Stephen Hawking's Cosmos system at Cambridge University uses 128.
More detailed information is available here.
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