The more things change, the more they stay the same. My former employer (left on good terms, between layoffs a decade ago next month) SGI has layoffs coming.
This is a tough environment folks, a very tough environment. We pulled out a nearly 12% revenue growth in it. SGI posted a profit, but if you click through to the underlying article (hit InsideHPC first though), you see some interesting analysis. First on the size of the layoff.
The assumption may be wrong on the burdened costs though, and its possible projects are being shuttered/written off. And these are speculation, but the article author is probably in the right order of magnitude, I’d even argue that the first digit may be correct within a factor of 2. His analysis is not a function of the first digit, but comparing the order of magnitude to other known quantities. The subsequent Register article does suggest that this analysis is correct.
Then on UVs …
This is interesting. I won’t say why right now, but let me ask a simple question.
Is the UV interesting to the end user base? That is, is there enough of a real interest in large memory large core count SMP to merit a market?
This also begs other questions, as in, are the issues with the UV performance, pricing, or otherwise?
Color me curious, I’d really like to know. If you have one, or know of one, and are open to speaking about it, please contact me offline (or post here if you wish). This isn’t opposition research, this is pure market curiousity. Is there really enough of an interest in this, such that it makes sense for someone to build it? Or is it basically another large customer wants one or two, and then you have to figure out how to sell them to a generally unreceptive world?
Understand, I am a huge fan of shared memory. Shared memory is impossible on clusters without ScaleMP’s vSMP or now the symmetric computing package (though I don’t know much of whats new with that one, I have to look into it).
GPUs and accelerators don’t currently play well with these mechanisms, hopefully this will change. But large shared memory machines can enable certain types of processing that are hard to do on distributed memory. Then again, distributed memory code works really well on shared memory thanks to the data locality (ignoring a few pathological cases).
GPUs are in heavy demand. Are large SMPs? Is there a real need there? Is there a real desire? What are the driving points behind this? Would you, the average reader of HPC stuff, be willing to pay for such a beast?
I am, to a degree, trying to assess the total addressable market for these things, in part, by assessing what people think about them. From there I can think further on the issues of large SMP markets, and whether or not the UV really can survive, or even speculate what a competitor to the UV would look like.
And this brings up another question. Given that there is one UV, would the market actually entertain a second non-SGI built UV-like machine? If it were “cheaper” or “faster” would this matter? Or is expense and performance not the issues we should be thinking about when we speculate on competition?
So is this a large market SGI has to itself, or a small market SGI is trying to completely dominate?
This all said, SGI is going to cut staff. And projects. Pulling revenue in to end of quarters/end of year can be good and bad. It means your next quarter could be bumpy.
And I can tell you, in this market, when pipelines fluctuate wildly, that it introduces more risk to the business.