hamei wrote:Why would anyone want to buy this ? There's not a single thing about it that's special.
Because MIPS just isn't fast enough, no matter how balanced a system it's in.
And whose fault is that ? Mmm-hmm. Maybe SGI should have put their money into MIPS instead of a new "corporate image" complete with fifty milion dollar font ?
Because making MIPS faster requires far more money now than it did in the past - the bar is much higher. Sun have quaterly revenue in the *billions*, and they can't do it anymore.
AMD managed somehow ..... we could go look up their relative size, compared to SGI a few years ago.
Speaking of Sun, they have changed their roadmap massively:
Exactly what sort of roadmap is that?
Like any company, Sun has gone with the flow when their previous plans turned out to be a mistake. But I'm not aware of them
1) consistently lying to their customers
2) forcing Sparc customers to change platforms if they don't want
Not only that, but Sun has
1) made Solaris free
2) offerred a reasonably-priced fast desktop computer
3) gives customers a choice
between Windows, Solaris, or Linux
And oh yes, when Sun says "we support Open Source" they aren't being a bunch of cynical bastards - or do you happen to have the information handy that would make Linux run on VW320's ? WITH support for the Cobalt chipset ? Or O2's ? Or ANY SGi workstation ? Right, SGI "supports" open source.
Sun are now where SGI where 5-6 years ago
I respectfully disagree. Sun may have some of the same problems
SGI had 5 to 6 years ago, but there's one big difference. Sun is a leader
with faith in their own
technologies, unlike modern SGI. I'm sorry - except in a very few areas, today's SGI is just a bunch of wannabe also-rans, lapping up other people's work and trying to resell it at a large markup.
hamei wrote:Nothing on the desktop that SGI has done newer than the Octane shows any imagination whatsoever
Then you're not looking hard enough. The Origin 3000 is pretty advanced.
So's getting that architecture to work with Itanium.
Goody. Now put an Origin 3000 on your desktop. Oh yes ! The Fuel ! I even have one ! Guess what ? I like the box but you know what ? It's crap. Two year old $12,000 computer with bad motherboard. It was a *very* common problem. Return ? Yeah, right. Quality control ? Yeah right.
I'd love to be a fly on the wall when you tell John Mashey that that stuff isn't exciting or technologically advanced.
I'd love to be able
to ask John Mashey why
my triple-overpriced Fuel is a piece of unreliable crap. Sure, I paid for it. I'll admit I was stupid. I thought SGI built good stuff. At one time, they did. I should have listened when my friend at Hubble told me to dump the SGI has-beens.
Or is the market so flooded with scalable NUMA systems that Origin and Altix are now mundane?
My suspicion is that you're right - "the market" for scalable Numa systems is
flooded. It's kinda like the Segway, ya know ? Three people had a use for them and then it was over. Or motorcycles, even. The Japanese thought that the motorcycle boom was going to last forever but it didn't. People can do 99.5% of what the SGI 4.5 million dollar scalable Numa system does with fifty bucks worth of clustered peecees. It was a dumb fucking thing to bet the company on. They should have gone into manufacturing peecee graphics cards ten years ago, when they could have owned
that market. If they'd had a management, they'd have been nVidia today - PLUS having the rest of the line. Instead, they have a history of miserable failures (from a sales standpoint. I actually liked my VW320.)
Go and work with F25ks and you'll realise how far behind the curve Sun are.
I don't mean to say that Sun is technologically wonderful. They aren't. But they have a klew about what a company is supposed to do. And one of those things is not
"lie to your customers."
Let's look at a few examples :
R18k - did they ever
announce that they were dropping it ? Up to a month before that cpu was supposed to be introduced they were still talking their "Irix roadmap." So how do the people who bought into that three weeks earlier feel ? Oh sure, SGI didn't want to hurt sales while changing their "strategy" .... so people who bought new Irix-MIPS machines then can just take it in the shorts, hey ? The people involved in large purchases knew, I suppose ? So at what point does one become "in the know" enough to avoid getting screwed ? One million ? Five million ? Ten ?
Why lie about the DCD option ? "Only works on V12" - my ass. Certainly there are limitations to it, but "doesn't work" is a flagrant lie.
Here's a good one - small, but tip of an iceberg, ya know ? $30 Adaptec cards for $500. Now, as an isolated instance sure, what the heck. But as a corporate strategy, the way it has become ? This Dorado device, with ATi graphics and Itanic cpu's (no MIPSPro there, eh ?) and maybe some Adaptec or Hauppauge or BenQ accessory cards and EIDE disks running modified Linux encased in some pretty plastic - who in his right mind is going to pay $8500 for that ? 5 people in the whole world ? Oh yeah, the SGI mantra - bandwidth. Wow. Let's Get Real(tm). If most people needed "bandwidth" SGI would be rolling in dough.
Ya know what else ? I'm not so sure that this much-vaunted SGI "bandwidth" is even real. Over the years in Usenet I've noticed quite a few people who actually tried to use that 'bandwidth' but weren't able to. Then Alexis would explain why they couldn't .... so much for "bandwidth" ? To a great extent it's just sales talk ?
CXFS is vastly more capable than any other shared filesystem out there. Do you have any idea how incredibly difficult it is to do something like that?
Very nice. Incredible, just like the jugglers with the dozens of spinning plates that were always on Ed Sullivan right before Topo Gigio. Now how old is it ? and if that's all that SGI can do, perhaps they should go into the shared filesystem business ? Btw, seems to me one of the major difficulties Hubble was having was *with* the filesystem - and they didn't get squat for help from SGI, notwithstanding the 200+ seats of maintenance they were paying for. Notice the past tense.
In what way is Onyx4 not advanced? Do you have that many machines with 32 graphics cores - that you can combine and split at will - that the Onyx4 is a mediocre box?
Like I said, y'all got an Onyx4 on your desktop ? Beyond that, I remember someone having so much trouble (with an Onyx4) that SGI could not
fix with the ATi graphics that they had to go back to Infinite Reality ... So much for 32 wonderful graphics cores, if they can't make them do what they claim.
Have you seen the sort of bandwidth and sustained throughput that clusters of Altix and Origins can get talking to SGI storage? I fail to see how that is mundane or not advanced - it blows other vendors away.
Wanna buy an Amphicar ? Have you seen any other autos that can drive and also float ? I'm sure there are people who need that but basing a company on such a singular talent ? Someone recently said to me that "they have a great interconnect. Too bad that's all they have." And even that came from Cray ..... can we say 'has-beens' ?
There's more to life than the desktop.
Sure. But this Dorado thingy is a desktop/side machine. That's what we were discussing. In fact, there's more to life than computers but that ain't germane to a conversation about workstations.
In order to have any sort of R&D - or, indeed, any sort of future - SGI has to build and sell what the market wants.
And they've been doing so well at that that their stock is running about a buck anda half. A little better and they can get de-listed from The Market. They can obviously talk the Talk but walking, now that's another matter. But then they've been a Talk company for quite a while now, haven't they ? We should have realized it was the beginning of the end when they locked up the maintenance stream. When a company starts to emulate Ebenezeer Scrooge, then the handwriting is on the wall.
This isn't 2000 any more. Companies don't buy IT equipment just because it's new and shiny. SGI are still innovating and still doing clever stuff, and still surviving because of that.
They are still "surviving" because they made enough money when they built and sold something special that they have (had) assets to sell. They are "living" off their assets. When that's gone, then what ?
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
Yes, exactly. "Not even Sun" were willing to do what SGI did ...
If they were still doing pure MIPS/IRIX they would have gone under several years ago.
First, I don't think anyone wants them to do "pure MIPS/Irix." We would
like them to do a better job of supporting the MIPS/Irix they already
sold and let the customers
decide which product they prefer.
Second, that statement is pure conjecture. I can conjecture in the opposite direction and claim that "if SGI had spent its resources wisely, they'd
1) own the peecee graphics market today and be rolling in dough
2) still have a band of energetic, creative engineers doing new interesting things, rather than hacking peecee hardware they bought at Fry's then airbrushing the manufacturer's name off. Perhaps if they still had the fifty mil they pissed away on a font, they could afford to get the firewire and usb drivers working properly.
3) If they'd believed in themselves
rather than what some corp's wife read in a Ziff-Davis mag at the dentist's, maybe the new R18K processor *would* have been competitive. PowerPC seems to be and it's no great shakes. AMD isn't the world's largest company. Might have been competitive enough so that, taken with the other advantages SGI used
to have, they'd still be selling interesting, differentiated computers instead of Loonix on a has-been chip.
Would NASA have even bothered to talk to SGI for Columbia if it was Origin 3000 based? No, of course not - they would have gone to IBM.
well .... to quote Silicon Bunny
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'.
No further comment needed ...
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?
Why on earth would a customer buy from a niche player with shaky financial prospects when IBM "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.
In other words, in comparison to IBM SGI hasn't got much to offer.
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.
Bullshit. The US government asked
SGI to buy Cray. They didn't want it to go to Japan. That would have been politically unpopular at the time. Nowadays probably no one would care but Japan was the bogeyman then that China is now. Besides, then was then, now is now. There is no longer any regulatory anything from the US government. You now have an "ownership" society. Once upon a time you had to pay people off to break the laws. Now it's assumed that if you're a company, anything is okay. Ownership, ya know ? Next best thing to feudalism ... or maybe even better. Feudal lords actually had responsibilities to their serfs.
I still look forward to the new machines from SGI, because they're still exciting, innovative, and ultimately very clever pieces of kit.
Actually, they aren't. Big deal, a water-cooled door. Numalink came from Cray. Name something they've actually done besides produce sexy-looking cases since 1998. Though admittedly, the cases look good. Probably they should go into that business. They could be the case-makers for real computer companies.
Oh, I almost forgot ! Recreating Jerusalem exactly as it was in the Time of Christ ! Maybe they could get some nice fundamentalist group to support them if they turn all their energies into proving the Earth was Created in six days. In fact, that's kinda looking like their best bet, right now.