SGI affirms commitment to Itanium

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…and also renews commitment to VHS tape of the month club.

Responding to reports in the media lately (HPCwire and eWeek, for example) wondering aloud when SGI would finally axe the Itanium from it’s roadmap, SGI CEO Mark Barrenechea said “not gonna do it” on his blog last week

SGI logo…There is, however, a basic point that needs a bit more emphasis. SGI is 100% committed to Itanium.

I’ll say this for him: he’s consistent. When insideHPC interviewed him soon after he took over the corner office at SGI he was saying the same thing:

At the same time Barrenechea was at pains to explain that SGI is fully committed to the current generation of shared memory products based on Itanium, and said that although there isn’t a final decision the company’s current thinking is that SGI will continue to offer shared memory systems based on both chips. I’ll be interested to see what market there is for Itanium shared memory after Xeon-based systems start showing up. My own opinion is that there are so few applications in which Itanium will make enough of a difference that customers are willing to shell out the extra Benjamins that this product strategy will not survive.

But two can play the consistency game, and I remain firmly committed to my opinion that Itanium does not have a long term future in a commercially viable product in shared memory at SGI.

In round numbers the Itanium/shared memory combo adds a 100% price premium over distributed memory clusters — with software (VM, etc.) solutions viable for at least some of those customers needing large, globally addressable memory, the portion of the market interested in purchasing this hardware is growing ever smaller. When SGI introduces its Xeon shared memory platform at a price premium closer to 25% (according to company insiders) over distributed memory clusters they are going to further cannibalize their own market.

I’ve given this qualification before, and I think its good to revisit it from time to time — I don’t run a multi-million dollar international hardware company, so what do I know?


  1. […] and InsideHPC (who know their stuff and are well worth a read) seem to think so. Even the eternally inaccurate […]


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  2. “SGI is 100% committed to Itanium.”

    That’s at least 90% more committed than Intel

  3. What else is he going to say?
    * Saying nothing just lets the rumors continue which will hurt sales.
    * Saying anything short of 100% support will be interpreted as confirming the rumors, and will dry up any sales remaining in the pipeline.

    Therefore, by definition, they’re publicly 100% committed to this product. (And all their products).

    Not meant to be critical of SGI. No company, especially in high tech, would say anything different than this when asked about a current product.

    Its a lot like when in response to rumors, the owner of a struggling baseball team issues a statement that he’s “100% behind the manager”. Often followed by the manager being fired within a matter of weeks, if not days…