SGI Launches First x86 Servers

Plans call for the high-end server maker to use Intel's latest Xeon server processors in systems coupled with Linux. The new servers are intended to extend SGI's reach into the enterprise.

SGI previously touched only the high end of the market but now wants to be a supplier for all of those companies' server needs, said Nancy Pierce, manager of the channel marketing and operations team at SGI. "What we are doing is taking our core competencies and making them attractive and affordable throughout the customer workflow," she said.

Each system includes two Xeon 5160 CPUs (formerly code-named Woodcrest) and supports up to 32 Gbytes of memory in a 1U or 2U chassis. The systems, slated to ship in August and start at $3,100, are available with Novell SUSE Enterprise Server or Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Server. Each comes standard with a three-year warranty.

A clustered version also is available. SGI will factory-configure the clusters before shipping them to customers, or authorized SGI partners can do their own configurations, Pierce said.

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In addition, SGI plans to offer application-specific bundles in configurations designed to optimize the performance of some popular vertical applications. The first of these is a customized rendering bundle for special effects and game development that incorporates PipelineFX Qube! Render Manager software, a Gigabit Ethernet switch, and a range of I/O and storage management options.

Once a high-flying maker of servers, workstations and visualization systems, SGI has seen its business wane for several years. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May.

SGI has about 60 solution provider partners in the United States and another 20 in the rest of the Americas, according to Pierce. The company offers partners sales and technical training, MDFs, demo programs and service opportunities, she said. SGI also recently added a Web portal where partners can manage leads online, register leads and give feedback on leads.

SGI plans to continue to maintain a small roster of partners, but Pierce said the company is recruiting new partners that have specific application expertise, such as SAP specialists.