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SGI's Business Intelligence for the Warehouse

SGI has debuted a new Adaptive Data Warehouse solution, tying together Oracle software with Altix servers and InfiniteStorage systems to provide a high performance computing (HPC) system for non-HPC enterprises managing mountains of data and intense analysis processes.

The system scales from 5 terabytes (TB) to 320TB, which one industry analyst described as a "powerhouse" of an application. Most data warehouses, according to SGI, support between 2TB and 5TB of data.

Data management is an increasingly complex issue given both exponential growth and increasing pressure to cull greater business intelligence from information, according to Ken Won, SGI's director of enterprise data management.

In an EMC-sponsored digital universe study, IDC estimated that 988 billion gigabytes of digital information will be created in 2010.

"They're using supercomputing strength to handle mountains of data," Steve Conway, IDC's research vice president for technical computing systems, told InternetNews.com.

According to Conway, the adoption challenge facing SGI's new product isn't about having the needed capabilities or technical expertise. It's about making inroads into new environments.

A tenured player in the HPC environment, SGI (NASDAQ: SGIC) is taking on major competitors including IBM (NYSE: IBM), Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) and Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ: JAVA), who all offer powerful warehouse applications for the large and midsize market.

Startups such a business-intelligence software maker Greenplum are also competing for market share.

"What SGI has going for it is its unique capabilities with big, big systems, and they know how to make them work," Conway said. "They just haven't penetrated the market outside the HPC space."

"There are just huge amounts of data, terabytes, that companies are trying to get answers from," Won told InternetNews.com. The increasing use of video and satellite imaging files is making data warehousing even more challenging, he added.

"These companies need extreme analysis," he said. "Our solution lets enterprises cut down that analysis time from hours to minutes which provides faster decision making and more complex analysis."

SGI said the product is built specifically for what it terms "complex decision support."

Potential customers include online commerce vendors with high-volume transactions, manufacturers dealing with sales analysis and supply chain management hurdles, and organizations using sophisticated pattern recognition software to catch identity thieves, according to SGI.

The product, which starts at $380,000 for a 5TB system including servers, storage and Oracle 10g, is available in three warehouse configurations. The midrange scales to 30TB, the large data product supports up to 80TB and the ultralarge data scales to 320TB.