I note today that SGI has filed for Chapter 11 protection from its creditors. Whether or not they emerge from bankruptcy is an open question, and one we will surely learn over the next several months.
One could talk about everything that led them to where they are now, and no doubt you will see such analyses in the press. Without reading them, I can’t tell you how close to the mark they are.
SGI got where it is today in spite of having some of the most amazing talent, the best engineers, the best products you could imagine. They failed though they had great stuff to sell.
There is an object lesson in here somewhere. There are many lessons for a young high performance computing startup. Don’t buy competitors you are in the process of destroying. Don’t take your eye off the prize. Don’t get cocky, and ignore what your customers are telling you. Get ready to destroy your own products to create a larger market. Don’t be afraid of change, embrace it.
If SGI emerges, they are going to have to do a fast product transition to something that has a fighting chance of generating sustainable revenues. I am sure that Intel is concerned over the status of their Itanium2 pipeline, now that SGI can’t pay them for it (though I have experienced the impact upon discounts that Intel can create when motivated for an Itanium2 sale).
If you are worried about support (not break fix, but normal software) for these machines, there are a few companies out there who will be happy to help; in the US, in India, and a few other places. Email me offline if you need more information.