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How It All Went Wrong for SGI in HPC

by Addison Snell
for Intersect360 Research (originally published under the Tabor Research name)
Apr 10, 2009

as published in HPCWire

Do you know what the saddest part is of Rackable’s attempt to acquire SGI’s assets out of bankruptcy for a paltry $25 million in cash? There would be very little effect on the HPC market as a result. Thanks to a cascading series of problems -- bad marketing, operational misfires, bad technology bets, and ordinary bad luck -- SGI didn’t have much left to lose.

It’s been a long ride down for SGI, and now that it’s finally over, it comes almost as a relief, like when a beloved relative who has been suffering in pain for years with a terminal disease, a mere shadow of former self, finally passes. It gives us one last chance to light candles, join hands, and remember an icon that once exemplified Silicon Valley greatness.

The industry is full of opinions on what went wrong with SGI, and I’ve got my stories too. Before becoming an HPC industry analyst, I worked at SGI myself for a little over six years in product management and product marketing roles in SGI’s server group.

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