SGI Back With High-Density, Big Data-Ready Cloud System

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2012-01-31 Print this article Print

The new cloud storage system is powered by Altix scale-up and scale-out clusters, as well as Altix XE hybrid systems, which all run on Intel's Xeon or Itanium processors.

SGI, which focuses exclusively on the high-performance computing market and large-scale workloads with its clustered Altix servers, Jan. 31 unveiled a new integrated server and storage platform for cloud and data storage use.

Dubbed SGI Modular InfiniteStorage, the core platform will be available as either SGI Modular InfiniteStorage Server or SGI Modular InfiniteStorage JBOD (just a bunch of disks) storage systems, SGI Director of Storage Products Floyd Christofferson told eWEEK.

The new cloud storage system is powered by Altix scale-up and scale-out clusters, as well as Altix XE hybrid systems, which all run on Intel's Xeon or Itanium processors. High-speed networking comes from InfiniBand connectivity or SGI's NUMALink offering.

"Think of this as sort of a Lego-type approach, where we can interchange parts, depending upon the specific requirements," Christofferson said. "It could be a storage server, very dense, and can have either one or two two-socket motherboards, which run the Intel Jefferson Pass processor. Or it could be a cloud systems server.

"Tied in there, we could have either 72 3.5-inch [hard] drives or 144 2.5-inch, 9.5mm HDDs, which also could be SAS/SATA SSDs [solid-state disks]."

When built into SGI's standard D-Rack cabinet configuration, the system can supply up to a whopping 2.37 petabytes of raw capacity. As many as 40 discrete processors can be utilized within a single standard 19-inch rack footprint. This kind of density enables IT organizations to reclaim floor space and reduce power and cooling costs, Christofferson said.

Several Choices in Configuration

The same basic packaging could be reconfigured as a JBOD, Christofferson said. All of the servers and arrays are accessible from either front or back to aid with installation and maintenance-a nontrivial consideration because these are big and heavy machines.

SGI Modular InfiniteStorage is aimed at IT storage management environments that require data and compute to be tightly coupled, Christofferson said. This approach enables customers to pool processing and storage in the right proportions for best efficiency and in precisely the manner they need to keep pace with expanding data and application demands.

SGI customers include major national scientific laboratories, government and military agencies, oil and gas researchers, and other similar use cases.

A little background: Rackable Systems bought SGI-which once ruled Silicon Valley as a high-end workstations maker-in 2009 and adopted the SGI name.

SGI MIS Server and SGI MIS JBOD are now available for preorder. Pricing is available upon request. See this Website for more information.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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