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Cray To Buy Supercomputer Startup

The $115 million deal to acquire OctigaBay Systems is designed to accelerate Cray's drive into commercial markets.

Supercomputer maker Cray Inc. says it will acquire closely held OctigaBay Systems Corp., a startup supercomputer manufacturer, in a $115 million deal that's designed to accelerate Cray's drive into commercial markets.

In announcing the acquisition, the companies noted that OctigaBay has been developing a high-performance computing system that will extend Cray's commercialization of its Red Storm system. Cray, a supplier of high-performance computing systems to governmental and scientific agencies and installations, had previously announced its intention to address more scientific and technical markets.

Cray says the OctigaBay acquisition will help it broaden its addressable market by a factor of four. Both companies use 64-bit AMD Opteron processors in their configurations.

"OctigaBay's product is designed with the same philosophy" as Cray's," Cray chairman and CEO Jim Rottsolk said in a statement. "The combined company will increasingly benefit from the growing realization that purpose-built HPC systems like Cray's are more efficient and cost-effective than general business computers for the high-performance computing market."

Previewed last fall, the OctigaBay 12K high-performance machine utilizes high-speed interconnect and application accelerator technologies to remove major bottlenecks. The OctigaBay 12K operates Linux and can scale as many as 12,000 64-bit Opteron processors. First shipments of the 12K are expected in the second half of this year, with general availability scheduled for 2005. Depending on configuration size, pricing is expected to range from less than 100,000 to $2 million.

Cray said it expects the acquisition to be accretive in 2005. OctigaBay's name stems from the fact that eight investors put up the initial venture capital for the Vancouver, British Columbia, company.

Marty Seyer, general manager of AMD's microprocessor business unit, says the solutions by OctigaBay and Cray "provide differentiated, highly innovative, and high-bandwidth architectures that fully exploit the advanced capabilities of AMD64 technology. We have been working closely with both Cray and OctigaBay."

Cray says the deal calls for the exchange of 12.7 million shares and almost $15 million in cash. In addition, it will assume a number of OctigaBay employee stock options.

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