Silicon Graphics Increases Channel Expectations

SINGAPORE (04/11/2000) - While many of its competitors are looking at more direct models, Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) is increasing its focus firmly on its channel partners to launch its upcoming stream of products, according to senior executives at the company's Asia-Pacific Channel Partner Conference and Press Symposium, held in Cheju, Korea.

"We depend on the channel to leverage our Intel-based products," said Greg Goelz, vice president, worldwide channel sales and marketing, SGI. "We rely on them to sell the mix of servers, workstations, graphics, and displays."

SGI plans to increase the revenue contribution of its channel partners in the Asia-Pacific from the current 65 percent to 80 percent by the end of the year, said Jensen Ek, vice president, Asia Pacific, SGI Asia-Pacific.

"We will limit the number of global and strategic accounts SGI deals with directly, and ensure that certain products be distributed strictly through the channels," he said. One of the key goals of SGI is to deliver products as quickly as possible.

"You want to have a fresh stream of products that are enticing to sell," said Goelz. "And there needs to be something every quarter." One of the key upcoming products is a graphics workstation that SGI claims will undercut its competitors such as Compaq, IBM, and Hewlett-Packard by up to 15 percent.

"We are serious in competing head-to-head in the workstation market," said Jeff Brown, marketing manager, workstations, SGI.

SGI is also focusing much of its energy on its Internet-based "thin server" strategy. The company has just launched in Asia its Internet server which will provide basic Web serving and messaging functions.

"By adding additional layers, a company could make it into an e-commerce server, or media serving box," said Cathy Lawson, senior marketing manager, broadband and Internet solutions, SGI. "It can be configured to target very specific functions and markets."

And with broadband Internet access on the rise, SGI is also optimistic about the prospects of its Media Server, a product for the production and broadcast industry to manage, store, and deliver content to its customers.

According to Dataquest, the number of business users with broadband access will double from 125 million this year to over 250 million by 2003.

"This will increase the demand for services which are media-rich and companies will want to offer services with this ability," said Lawson.

SGI expects 80 to 90 percent of its broadband products to go through the channel.

On the technical front, SGI also revealed plans to develop an overlay to Linux that will enable the operating system to scale up to Intel IA-64 processors in a multiprocessing environment.

"Standard Linux doesn't give you the scalability many of our users want," said Goh Eng Lim, vice president for systems engineering and chief scientist at SGI.

"It supports four-processor multiprocessing, which can be taken to eight processors if you try hard enough."

To implement 64-way multiprocessing using IA-64 technology, which offers a 64-bit addressing scheme, SGI will have to migrate to the Intel platform its ccNUMA shared-memory multiprocessing architecture, which is currently used in the company's high-end computers that run on MIPS Technologies processors and the proprietary Irix operating system.

"You need ccNUMA if you want shared memory capability," added Goh. " When you start to move away from standard boxes of Linux, you have to think about the ccNUMA architecture with Intel chips, with Linux running on it."

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