SGI hedges its bets with a Linux cluster for security, Web serving

SGI hedges its bets with a Linux cluster for security, Web serving

SGI's 1400 server comes in Linux and Microsoft Windows NT versions for Pentium III Xeon processors.

By Susan M. Menke

GCN Staff

SGI has made a strategic shift toward the Linux operating system in its new four-way Pentium III Xeon server, the SGI 1400.

The high-end computer maker last year embraced Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 as the OS for its Visual 320 and 540 workstations, which SGI federal marketing director Anthony Robbins said had only fair government adoption. The 1400M server model also runs NT 4.0 and can support the long-delayed Windows 2000.

A twin 1400L model comes with Red Hat Linux 6.0 from Red Hat Software Inc. of Research Triangle Park, N.C., augmented by SGI extensions for security, clustering, and Web and file serving. Product manager Courtney Carr said the Linux patch came out of SGI's experience with its Irix OS and guards against Internet Control Message Protocol denial-of-service attacks.

A uniprocessor 1400L server starts at $7,935 with Linux, 256M of RAM and a 9G hot-plug hard drive. A four-way 500-MHz Pentium III Xeon server with the maximum 2M of secondary cache and 4G of RAM will run 'in the high $30,000s,' Carr said. The NT models will be priced about $1,000 more, and a future Windows 2000 upgrade for current buyers will not be free.

Carr said she expects the 32-bit Windows-Intel architecture to have a long lifetime because of price and compatibility issues as well as the lateness of Windows 2000 and Intel Corp.'s 64-bit Merced processor.

Linux clustering appeals to the Defense Department, NASA and government laboratories that need to 'front-end their high-performance computing at better price points,' Robbins said. 'There is no finite limit to high-performance computing users. We see a tremendous number of new applications popping up.'

The 1400 server models, available on SGI's General Services Administration Information Technology Schedule contract and NASA's Scientific and Engineering Workstation Procurement II, measure about 12 inches wide by 18 inches high by 25 inches deep. They also come in rackmount format.

Contact SGI at 301-572-3287.

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