SGI releases new Altix platform

The latest contender in the high-performance computing arena promises to deliver a scalable, flexible and space-efficient solution in blade server designAdding to its flagship Altix line of servers, Silicon Graphics has introduced the Altix 4000 platform to serve as the foundation of the future of high-performance computing, according to the company.“The 4000 is the first ground-up redesign of Altix servers,” said Jill Matzke, product marketing manager for the Altix line.
Matzke said it has a modular design allowing users to build any configuration and add any compute resource to design a system.
“We’ve taken features and stepped it up one more level in a blade-based form, it’s a new breed of blade,” she said.
Individual blades supply compute, memory, graphics or alternative co-processing capabilities that can be combined in any variation or amount to suit the needs of enterprise, Matzke said.
Although SGI continues to target the same markets with the launch of Altix 4000, Matzke said the markets are changing.
“We’re finding there are increasing complex problems outside of traditional engineering and scientific markets that demand the capabilities we provide, these are specific enterprise related application domains where there is a huge amout of data,” she said.
The high-end Altix has been the most successful product area for SGI in recent years, according to Matzke.
The 4000 will have a higher price performance profile, she added, and addresses performance density problems that many customers face.
In addition to shifting its entire product line over to the Linux operating system, Matzke said the company now has mid- and high-end servers offering complete solutions in data management and visualization.
“But the most important thing SGI has done in the last two years has been to grow our reseller base, so we have a much broader reach into the marketplace,” she said.

Channel connection program
In July SGI launched a new Canadian reseller program focused on growing and strengthening its relationship with its partners.
“Our Channel Connection Program is a three-tier program, where at the highest elite level, you can make profit margins between 25 and 35 percent,” said Claude Morel, channel director for SGI Canada.
Two years ago, Morel stated, SGI’s ratio of direct and partner sales was 70 to 30 per cent. “Next year we expect 70 per cent of sales to come from resellers and only 30 from direct,” he said.
Currently SGI Canada has one reseller in B.C., another in Alberta, one VAR covers the rest of the Prairie provinces, two partners are in Ontario, a few in Quebec and one in the Atlanic provinces.
“We’re not trying to get much more than that,” said Morel, “we’re not going to drastically increase numbers for the next 18 months.”
The strategy for the program in Canada is to develop and implement strong partnerships with resellers, he added.
The Altix 4000 will start delivery next February and, according to Matzke, early production runs have already been sold, mostly to Europe.
As for its operating system of choice, Matzke said SGI remains committed to Linux as it is “the OS of choice of our customers.”
“But as trends change we are always evaluating alternatives not only in OS but other areas as well,” she said.

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