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SGI, SuSE Pushing Boundaries of Linux

As more companies try to expand the use of Linux as an alternative to proprietary operating systems, SGI Monday pledged to offer a 64-bit Intel Itanium 2 processor system running Linux technology from SuSE Linux.

Mountain View, Calif.'s, SGI plans to bundle SuSE's Linux Enterprise Server 8 on its high-end Altix 3000 servers and superclusters. SuSE will also provide third-level customer support to SGI customers, further extending its footprint as a Linux supplier of software and services, the company said.

Oakland, Calif.'s, SuSE has also promised to contribute technology and resources to SGI's program to scale Linux to 128-processors, which SGI announced earlier this month. The companies anticipate Linux will be able to power 128-processor systems next year.

Most hardware vendors and Linux software specialists power small systems and partitions running Linux, but SGI and SuSE are looking to push the envelope to slake the public's thirst to know whether or not Linux can support large-scale systems from 4 to 64 nodes to 128. Sixty-four (64) node and up systems are traditionally used in high-performance computing and technical database requirements.

The companies are targeting customers in the bio-informatics and automotive design and production, as well as other scientific sectors, where technical or scientific applications interact with large-scale databases and enterprise infrastructure software, sectors that could have multi-billion-dollar potential.

SGI rivals IBM and Fujitsu have previously announced Linux-based supercomputers. Moreover, Dell said Tuesday the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) plans to use more than 1,450 Dell servers in a Linux supercomputer. SGI's latest project is an extension of the upscale Linux trend.

"SuSE's support of advanced Linux features, such as scalability, the XFS filesystem, security and native 64-bit environments provide SGI and SuSE with a wealth of opportunities for collaboration," said Dave Parry, senior vice president and general manager, Server and Platform Group, SGI.

Oracle applauded the news because, as Dave Dargo, vice president of Platform Partners, Linux and Performance, Oracle, said, it extends Oracle's database products to higher ends of the market, where a good chunk of business may be done.

The SGI Altix 3000 family combines SGI supercomputing architecture with Intel Itanium 2 processors and the Linux operating system. SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 is expected to be available on Altix systems in October 2003.

SGI Altix 3000 servers and superclusters supporting 64-processor nodes, in configurations up to 128 Intel Itanium 2 chips, are available now. SGI expects to support configurations of 256 processors in September and 512 processors in October 2003.