SGI to sell pre-configured Altix 350 clusters

Silicon Graphics (SGI) on Monday plans to unveil a new product line designed to make it easier for users with medium-sized computing needs to set up clusters of the Mountain View, California, company's Altix 350 servers.

Called the Altix 1350 clusters, the systems will be based on SGI's Altix 350 servers. They will be pre-configured with the management, networking and storage technology required to cluster them. Customers will be able to cluster as many as 32 Itanium 2 processors into a single Altix 350 compute node, SGI said in a statement.

The product can be pre-configured with a variety of clustering technologies, including Platform Computing Inc.'s LSF workload processing software, Voltaire's Voltaire Vision network management software and the InfiniBand interconnect standard, the company said.

Also on Monday, SGI will announce a product called the Altix Hybrid Cluster, which allows customers to create clusters that combine SGI's 64-bit Altix systems with servers based on 32-bit processors.

Wichita State University, for example, has used the Altix Hybrid Cluster to combine a 32-processor Altix server with two 32-bit clusters based on Xeon systems from Atipa Technologies, according to SGI's Web site.

A number of other vendors have created cluster packages similar to the Altix 1350 in order to simplify the difficult and time-consuming process of integrating a large number of servers into a single clustered system. Hewlett-Packard, for example, has been shipping its HP Cluster Platform since 2003.

Though SGI has had success selling very large Altix clusters, most notably a 10,240-processor system it built for the National Aeronautical and Space Administration last year, it is important that SGI also find a way to sell smaller systems, said Gordon Haff, a senior analyst with Illuminata, in Nashua, New Hampshire.

"The high-end system ends up being the marquee, but typically companies end up selling more to the midrange," he said.

Factory-integrated Altix 1350 clusters and the Altix Hybrid Clusters will be available as of Monday, the statement said. Pricing for the systems was not available.

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