SGI and Microsoft Join Forces to Expand High-Performance Computing
Jan. 11, 2007
SGI to offer Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 on SGI Altix XE Cluster Systems.

SUNNYVALE, Calif., and REDMOND, Wash. — Jan. 11, 2007 — Leveraging SGI’s expertise in high-performance computing and Microsoft Corp.’s strategy of making HPC more accessible to a broader marketplace, SGI (NASDAQ: SGIC) and Microsoft today announced that SGI will offer Microsoft® Windows® Compute Cluster Server 2003 on SGI® Altix® XE cluster systems based on quad-core and dual-core Intel® Xeon® processors. SGI Altix XE cluster systems with Windows Compute Cluster Server will be available beginning in March 2007.

“Customers are dealing with the complexity of working with different operating systems throughout their workflow. SGI now provides solutions that bridge that interoperability gap,” said Dennis McKenna, CEO of SGI. “The Windows platform, which is core to many of these workflows, combined with our HPC expertise further expands our reach into these markets. By adding SGI Altix XE solutions with Intel Xeon and Windows Compute Cluster Server to our existing portfolio, our aim is to provide solutions that are transparent across mixed workflows and make HPC accessible to a much broader market at a lower cost of ownership.”

The OEM agreement supports SGI’s growth strategy in the enterprise, specifically targeting media data management; industrial design such as automotive and aerospace; healthcare; and government and academic markets where customers are often faced with mixed workflow infrastructures.

Windows Compute Cluster Server is designed to be a reliable HPC platform that makes HPC clusters easier to deploy, manage and integrate with existing infrastructure and tools, allowing scientists and engineers to focus on their research or model rather than computing code. This is consistent with SGI Altix XE clusters, which are easy to build and deploy, and are factory-integrated in configurations designed to optimize leading applications for engineering analysis such as LS-DYNA, MD Nastran, ABAQUS or Star-CD, in addition to others in the life and environmental sciences, media, and enterprise markets.

“We are pleased to be working with SGI, an innovator of solutions for customers running high-performance computing systems across many industries,” said Kyril Faenov, general manager of High Performance Computing at Microsoft Corp. “Windows Compute Cluster Server and Microsoft’s tools and application ecosystem can help customers be more productive and accelerate the pace of discovery and insights. Together, Microsoft and SGI aim to help researchers and scientists gain ready access to supercomputing power from their desks.”

Customers often couple Altix XE clusters with large SGI Altix shared-memory systems to tackle a range of HPC challenges. For instance, at Irvin Aerospace, a world leader in the design, development, and manufacture of best-of-class parachutes, engineers have deployed an Altix XE cluster and large SGI Altix shared-memory server. Irvin engineers are leveraging the Altix systems to couple Computational Fluid Dynamics and Finite Element Analysis studies to create a breakthrough Fluid Structure Interaction (FSI) analysis capability. With its SGI Altix systems, Irvin Aerospace can perform more complex analyses on a greater variety of fluid flow problems, which in turn dramatically speeds application run time and the optimized performance of software applications.

“We operate in a mixed workflow environment, where multiple engineering disciplines converge to enable groundbreaking advances like Irvin’s FSI simulations,” said Robert Shiley, general manager of Irvin’s Engineering Organization. “An engineering environment like ours would benefit from any ability to integrate workflows that previously were deemed incompatible. Because of this, Windows Compute Cluster Server can be an intriguing option for Altix XE users, as it should offer yet another avenue for interoperability.”

Pacific Title & Art Studio is a leading Hollywood digital imaging facility that generates eight- to-16 terabytes of data per day in 2K and 4K digital cinema mastering. Its storage area network (SAN) for rendering and image processing comprises SGI Altix 350 servers and hundreds of terabytes of SGI InfiniteStorage. The availability of Windows Compute Cluster Server on SGI Altix XE servers means Pacific Title & Art Studio can fulfill most of its digital content management needs through a single vendor.

“SGI CXFS shared filesystem on our SAN already allows us to seamlessly integrate files from Windows, Linux and other popular operating systems,” said Andy Tran, chief technology officer at Pacific Title. “Since so many important media applications are Windows-based, we look forward to SGI providing Windows Compute Cluster Server on their Altix XE platforms directly from the factory to provide better integration of Windows applications throughout our production pipeline.”

Hoff and Associates, a preeminent HPC solutions provider for engineering, product development and product testing, recently added reliable SGI clusters, HPC and storage systems to its portfolio and welcomes the addition of Windows Compute Cluster Server on Altix XE.

“We have the best of both worlds by partnering with SGI,” said Don Coburn, director of HPC Solutions, Hoff and Associates. “We offer Altix XE systems for codes that run well on distributed systems, traditional Altix offerings optimized for shared memory, and SGI storage solutions. Now with the addition of Windows Compute Cluster Server on Altix XE clusters, we can deliver a truly heterogeneous — and yet fully integrated — solution sourced from a single vendor without compromising performance, scalability, or compatibility. With its support for Windows Compute Cluster Server, the Altix platform has truly become a solution for every environment.”

Availability

Windows Compute Cluster Server will be available on the full SGI Altix XE line of servers and clusters in March 2007, priced starting at under $3,500 U.S. List per node. The new Windows Compute Cluster Server-based offering from SGI includes the recently announced SGI Altix XE310 and SGI Altix XE1300 systems, based on an innovative new design that sets a new standard for performance density and reliability.

For more information, go to http://www.sgi.com/products/servers/altix/xe.

SGI Innovation for Results™

SGI is a leader in high-performance computing. SGI delivers a complete range of high-performance server and storage solutions along with industry-leading professional services and support that enable its customers to overcome the challenges of complex data-intensive workflows and accelerate breakthrough discoveries, innovation and information transformation. SGI helps customers solve their computing challenges whether it’s enhancing the quality of life through drug research, designing and manufacturing safer and more efficient cars and airplanes, studying global climate, providing technologies for homeland security and defense, or helping enterprises manage large data. With offices worldwide, the company is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., and can be found on the Web at www.sgi.com.

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