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5/28/2009
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'Green' Supercomputer Maker, SiCortex Closes Its Doors

The company reportedly sold at least 60 computers to universities and large corporations in 2008 and continued to log sales in 2009.

Supercomputer maker SiCortex shut down its operations this week, even after its energy-efficient machines continued to sell to universities and large corporations.

Based in the old Digital Equipment Corp. mill in Maynard, Mass., the company's $68.1 million in funding plus sales of several machines wasn't enough to turn a profit. The company's executives were not available for comment Thursday, but the SiCortex Web site listed sales of many supercomputers in recent months. SiCortex reportedly sold at least 60 computers in 2008 and continued to log sales in 2009.

Founded in 2004, the company's claim to fame and fortune was its ultralow power computers, which SiCortex officials said were easy to install. "It'll take longer to uncrate them than to install them," a company spokesman once said in praising the computers.

The company boasted a list of prestigious investors, including Chevron Technology Ventures, Flagship Ventures, JK&B Capital, Prism VentureWorks, and Polaris Venture Partners.

Most of the SiCortex staff has been let go and a small skeleton staff is reportedly continuing to work at the firm. Property manager Gerbsman Partners has been retained to sell the company's assets.

"SiCortex addresses the compelling problem of data center energy constraints head-on, giving it a unique market opportunity in a world where, according to McKinsey & Co., 90% of data centers will run out of power capacity by 2010," Gerbsman Partners said.

The company sold machines to an international roster of research and high computational institutions, including U.S. government intelligence agencies, Columbia University, MIT, Purdue, University of Maine, GE, Lockheed Martin, Argonne National Labs, and NASA. The company also has agreements with several independent software vendors.

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Server Market Splitsville
Server Market Splitsville
Just because the server market's in the doldrums doesn't mean innovation has ceased. Far from it -- server technology is enjoying the biggest renaissance since the dawn of x86 systems. But the primary driver is now service providers, not enterprises.
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