LaLora wrote:Would NASA have even bothered to talk to SGI for Columbia if it was Origin 3000 based? No, of course not
In case you still don't know - "Columbia" was almost entirely "donated" to NASA by SGI. They rushed to set it up quickly right before November Top 500 HPC list, so they could be on or near the top of the list for Altix "promotion" purpose.
I'm well aware of it - in what way does that change the fact that Columbia is still very technically advanced? Or that SGI would not have landed the deal if it was O3k instead of Altix?
I'd be very surprised if any of the bidders submitting quotes for Columbia asked for even 50% list price.
Once you leave the mass market toys and get to the big iron (16 way and upwards) no-one, ever, pays list price. At all.
'Headliner' systems like Blue Gene/L and Columbia are always *heavily* subsidised by the vendor. TOP500 is bragging rights, nothing else.
However, SGI could have given the kit away - for free - if it was MIPS based, and NASA still wouldn't have gone for it.
There's no loyalty in IT, and no-ones going to install a system that's significantly slower than the others on offer - especially not for a major installation like that.
LaLora wrote:"Columbia", various sources estimate, at that time represnted around 10% of ALL global Itanium2 processor sales. When somebody has to "donate" 10% of all global sales of a new processor just to convince customers about their new system then that is more a sign of weakness for that company than some big success.
You appear to be confusing SGI with a mass market player like HP, Sun, or IBM.
They are not. They never have been, and they never will be. They are a niche player. They rule that niche, but it's still a niche.
Itanium is a niche CPU - anyone who believed it would be a mass-market solution can come to talk to me - I have a bridge to sell them. The market for Itanium is tiny - just as the market for MIPS or vector based systems is tiny.
The Earth Simulator was more than 10% of global vector-based systems sales when it was installed - doesn't mean it wasn't technically impressive, or that NEC were giving away kit out of desperation to stir the market.
High end system sales are very different from bulk desktop or 4 way server sales. Trying to quote numbers or systems shipped is just a nonsense in that space - that market doesn't work like that.
LaLora wrote:No, of course not - they would have gone to IBM.
It's quite funny that you wrote this line because:
"..If Itanium2 failes, SGI will be bought by IBM and their engineers will be used to boost new IBM systems with their experince.."
..was (or similar) written just a few months ago at HPC forum by someone close to IBM or SGI. Then, about a week later, I checked again at that forum and saw a very wierd thing - the posted message, and even all messages posted under (actually almost all messages on forum) were deleted (it's quite empty now), by administrator(s). Lots of people from industry come to visit TOP 500 site, sometimes even SGI has ads there, and SGI probably demanded for those messages quoting that they'll be bought by IBM be deleted.
It probably is not a secret in industry and business world any more that SGI will be bought by IBM in the end.
You don't honestly believe that? I mean, that's some serious tin-foil-hat paranoia going on there.
A post in a web forum does not a business decision make. Definitely not when it would involve hundreds of millions of dollars.
IBM will not buy SGI. At all. It's just not going to happen. Quite apart from the fact that SGI is dwarfed by IBM - an utterly insignificant player - IBM already have products in every area that SGI do.
Why on earth would IBM spend money to buy a non-competitive niche player when they already have higher volume sales from competing products?
Do you think IBM sales lose sleep at night when thinking of Altix vs. their POWER5/Linux business?
There's no business justification for it at all.
And that's not even touching on all the regulatory pain IBM would incur from the US goverment. Look at the hopes SGI had to jump through when buying Cray.
Governments don't like to see their technology suppliers being bought - it doesn't give them the warm fuzzies. They'd much rather bail them out with lucrative research grants and large scale projects. Look at how badly HP have screwed government departments over with their laughable Alpha 'road-map'.
The only people who might have had an interest in buying SGI would have been Sun - they need the high-end scalability. But not even Sun were willing to do a complete about face and swallow Itanium as their server CPU - so they jumped into bed with Fujitsu.
LaLora wrote:The primary force of any high-tech company is always (and ONLY) innovation, new technology, helping new scientific research and so on. Once you loose that - it's over. You can't reinvent another HP zx6000 or claim to be serious scientific supercomputing company while posting news on your website that should attract religion-decision based shareholders and customers!
Which was what my post was all about.
SGI are still innovating, they're still ahead of the pack, and they therefore still have their little niche cornered. The day SGI stop innovating, you'll know about it, because they'll go under.
In the meantime, their stuff is technically excellent. The fact that it's no longer MIPS/IRIX should not blind any of you to their continuing innovation and - most importantly - their continued survival in a very harsh market.