Addison Snell: Sun's HPC off-ramp

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Addison Snell is blogging about the difference in the SGI and Sun/Oracle HPC trajectories. He argues that SGI has a long road ahead of it, but the road is in HPC

SGI logoOn the one hand we have Rackable — or should I say SGI? — for Rackable has officially adopted the SGI brand. For HPC customers of the new SGI, the news looks good. Although there may be some consolidation where x86 lines overlap, the new SGI is going forward with the core HPC and visualization business, including most of the acquired employees. SGI will continue to fulfill product and service contracts, including the $40 million DOD deal from February.

He isn’t so excited about Sun/Oracle’s prospects for maintain any hardware, let alone HPC

Sun logoWill Oracle keep any of the hardware pieces? They would have to be very selective if so. This is unlike Cisco’s move into servers for virtualization, in that Cisco at least already had familiarity with building things. The operational challenge of transitioning from software to hardware is not to be taken lightly. There are inventory issues, parts shortages, and spares for the field. In HPC there is burn-in, benchmarking, and acceptance testing. I just don’t see it in Oracle’s future.

…While SGI has a long road to recovery ahead of it in HPC, at least there is a road. All Sun seems to have is an off-ramp.