SGI Resurrects Origin x86 Server Line With New Xeons

By Andy Patrizio (Send Email)
Posted Mar 17, 2010


SGI has become part of the Xeon parade, announcing new x86 servers that will use Intel's latest and greatest server processor, the 5600. As part of the deal, SGI -- formerly known as Silicon Graphics, Inc. -- is revisiting a name from the past. The classic brand is reborn as a super-dense, all-in-one x86 server with an integrated SAN, while larger siblings will sport more than 1,000 cores for virtualized environments.

The SGI (NASDAQ: SGI) of today is a result of Rackable Systems' acquisition of what was left of the old Silicon Graphics, after which Rackable took the SGI name for the combined company due to its storied legacy. Today, the new SGI is combining Rackable's high-density rack mounted systems with SGI's proprietary technologies that allowed for massive, scalable Intel-based systems.

As a result, SGI is upgrading all of its server products to support the new Xeon 5600 series (codenamed "Westmere-EP") while resurrecting its old Origin branding for its newest server, the Origin 400 workgroup blade server.

With the new releases, the new Xeon 5600-series processors will find themselves in the Altix ICE high-performance computing clusters, CloudRack and Rackable scale-out servers, SGI InfiniteStorage servers, and Octane III personal supercomputers. Thanks to the new six-core Xeon 5600 and the extreme density of Rackable systems, one cabinet can hold as many as 1,000 cores, the company said.

Then there's the new Origin 400, which offers some surprises beyond simply a revived brand name. The Origin 400 can hold up to six dual-socket blades and 14 2.5-inch SAS hard drives in a 6U enclosure through a redundant, integrated storage-area network (SAN).

SGI is positioning the Origins as an all-in-one solution for small and mid-size enterprises, with emphasis on the smaller, since there are a number of enterprise products for large firms.

"There are plenty of blade systems on the market but you won't see another product with an integrated SAN like this," Geoffrey Noer, senior director of product marketing for SGI, told InternetNews.com. "Having the server SAN-based is very advantageous. You can create a storage pool so you have a redundant boot drive for each blade and can migrate storage from one blade to the next."

Just setting up a traditional Fibre Channel SAN usually requires anywhere from hours to a day or two, whereas having it all integrated with an internal SAN has the server up and running in 15 minutes, SGI said. It also means fewer parts and connections. In addition, there is an integrated system management suite that can be accessed via a browser, making it easier to set up and manage the server.

Noer said he expects the vast majority of these systems will be virtualized, and the hardware is certified to run VMware, Xen and Microsoft's hypervisors.

The servers are available now through SGI resellers.

Andy Patrizio is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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