Cray acquires another supercomputer vendor

Cray Inc., a longtime supercomputer maker whose high-end systems reside in many federal laboratories, plans to acquire a start-up Canadian manufacturer of low-cost, high-performance systems.

The Seattle-based Cray announced late yesterday that it would buy OctigaBay Systems Corp. of Vancouver, British Columbia, for approximately $115 million.

The deal will help Cray serve customers on the lower end of the high-performance computing market, said Christopher Jehn, Cray's vice president for government programs.

OctigaBay has designed a 12-way computer around the 64-bit Opteron processor from Advanced Micro Devices Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif. Cray is using the same processors to build a large-scale classified supercomputer called Red Storm for the Energy Department's Sandia National Laboratories (Click for GCN story).

Delivery of Red Storm is planned for the second half of this year, and Cray officials say they will eventually commercialize the Red Storm technology.

Cray sells supercomputers mostly to the U.S. government and laboratories that receive federal grants. The U.S., Spanish and Polish governments bought almost all of the 25 Cray X1 models sold in 2003, Jehn said.

Most purchasers of the large-scale supercomputers also buy smaller high-performance systems for code development and testing, Jehn said.

Cray, IBM Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc. also are participating in a three-year Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program to design new high-performance technology for national security needs.

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