SGI Aims Origin 400 at SMEs

SGI is bringing many of the enterprise capabilities of its legacy Origin systems to the Origin 400, an integrated computing, storage and networking package for small and midsize enterprises and such verticals as education and health care. The new offering is powered by Intel's Xeon 5600 processors, code-named Westmere EP.

SGI is bringing out a product that combines compute blades, networking and storage capabilities in an integrated package.

SGI's Origin 400, unveiled March 16, brings the company's Origin scalable server capabilities from the enterprise into the midrange, according to Geoffrey Noer, senior director of product marketing at SGI.

"It builds on the legacy of the Origin name," Noer said in an interview.

The Origin 400 can fit up to six dual-socket blades and 14 2.5-inch SAS hard drives within its 6U (10.5-inch) enclosure, and includes integrated Gigabit Ethernet networking capabilities and management software.

The offering follows on the trend of tightly integrated all-in-one packages that companies such as Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Dell have been releasing for the data center.

Noer said SGI sees the Origin 400 as a workgroup solution for SMEs (small and midsize enterprises) and remote offices in such segments as regional health care, educational institutions, local governments, retail stores and call centers. It can act as a Web server, e-mail server or back-end database server.

The system is powered by Intel's new four- and six-core Xeon 5600 "Westmere EP" processors, and offers flexibility and reliability through redundant and hot-swappable components such as power supplies, cooling fans, RAID controllers and networking modules.

With a dedicated SAN (storage area network), users can avoid the usual setup and management headaches, Noer said. The Origin 400 also gives SMEs flexibility, reaching the break-even point with rack servers with only two of the six blades in use, he said.

That gives organizations the ability to grow as demands dictate, Noer said.

The integrated Web GUI has point-and-click management capabilities designed to make it easier to set up and manage the offering.

The Origin 400 also offers virtualization support via VMware, Citrix Systems and Microsoft's Hyper-V, Noer said.

This is the latest offering from SGI to push the company's high-end capabilities into new areas. In 2009, three months after Rackable Systems bought SGI and adopted the name, the company rolled out the CloudRack X2 cluster, bringing HPC (high-performance computing) capabilities to the department and workgroup levels.

In September, SGI unveiled the Octane III, which SGI officials called a personal supercomputer.

The Origin 400 will be sold primarily through SGI's channel partners. The system is available immediately, Noer said.