14k core NM Altix "up" in 48 hours

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SGI put a release on the wires earlier this week about its success out west: New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson’s 14,336 core SGI Altix ICE was “up and running in just 48 hours.” This is significant since it would currently rank third on the Top500 list.

Good stuff, no doubt. Of the major providers I’ve worked with over the years, SGI is no doubt the fastest at shipping and installing new machines. So this is A Good Thing (as Martha Stewart would say), and its value should not be discounted.

Remember, however, that it’s a long way from “running to the log-in promp” as it says in the release to “production ready” or even “ready for pioneer users.” A little further down in the release the potential for a lot of pain hides in thirteen words

SGI is integrating and testing the system, the SGI InfiniteStorage solution and Lustre…

That said, it is perhaps time that more of the large federal acquisitions placed a higher premium on shorter deployment cycles and proven technology, especially given the delays that major programs are experiencing in fielding their purchases.