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Silicon Graphics Looks Downmarket To Broaden Reach

Vendor offers a $7,000 server to attract new customers.

Following up on a promise it recently made to solution providers, SGI is now offering a new line of entry-level products geared to the channel.

The Mountain View, Calif., vendor, known more for its direct sales of high-end computing and visualization systems, has realized it needs the channel for growth, especially as a way to penetrate new accounts that had never before considered SGI, said Dave Gibson, SGI's director of channels for the Americas.

"It's what the market is missing," he said. "[The entry-level products] let us get into customer accounts with partners and lets that be an entry point for the rest of the SGI product line."

New from SGI is the Altix 330 server, which holds one or two Itanium 2 processors, up to 6 Mbytes of cache and up to 16 Gbytes of memory in a 1U rack-mount enclosure.

The Altix 330 also features the same SGI NUMAflex architecture and NUMAlink interconnect as other SGI servers. With the NUMA architecture, memory is shared across multiple processors, which allows multiple Altix 330 servers to be connected to scale to up to 16 processors and 128 Gbytes of memory, said Jacque Powers, product marketing manager for SGI's midrange servers.

The new SGI InfiniteStorage S330 array is OEMed from Engenio, and comes with single- or dual-active controllers. It can be configured initially with either 2.8 Tbytes or 5.6 Tbytes of SATA drives, and can be expanded to 16.8 Tbytes.

The array is targeted at applications such as consolidating SAN and NAS storage or tiered storage for data life cycle management and data protection, including disaster recovery and business continuity, said Laura Sheppard, product marketing manager for the company's storage products.

For Hope Hayes, president of Alliance Technology Group, a Hanover, Md.-based solution provider that recently signed with SGI, the products are a new way to fight against lower-priced competitors.

"When people look at products at this level, they usually go to Dell," she said. "This will bring customers to SGI. And it will open new opportunities for SGI."

SGI definitely will need help from the channel to succeed, Hayes said. "You can go into customers and ask them if they know SGI, and unless they're from the old days they never heard of them," she said.

SGI, which is actively recruiting, has signed up a number of new solution providers, Gibson said. The company works directly with solution providers, and has no plans to sign with distributors, he said.

Both the Altix 330 servers and the InfiniteStorage S330 arrays are expected to be available this summer. The servers start at about $7,000. The arrays start at $12,599 with 2.8 Tbytes of capacity.

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