Cray [CRYYQ.PK] has agreed to acquire a little-known but impressive maker of high performance computing systems called OctigaBay. Although Cray claims that OctigaBay’s systems will fit well in its product portfolio, this may not be the case. OctigaBay is a credible threat that Cray may have bought largely to stop it falling into the hands of its rivals.
Cray is to buy Opteron-Linux HPC upstart OctigaBay for $115 million.
With Cray already spearheading the development of very powerful Opteron-based systems thanks to its ‘Red Storm’ supercomputer and its commercial ‘Strider’ spinoffs due this year, you might think that the company already had enough expertise with Opterons and high-speed interconnect to simply crush OctigaBay before it even got a toehold in the high performance computing (HPC) market.
However, the OctigaBay design is very clever, and scales from a single twelve processor machine to one with thousands of Opterons, spanning from about 48 gigaflops to 1.5 teraflops. The Strider variants of the Red Storm architecture can only scale down to a teraflop or so, which left a big opening for OctigaBay to chase and Cray to miss.
While the OctigaBay 12K system was boasting that it can be extended to as many as 12,000 Opteron processors in a single system, the odds now favor Cray scaling back the OctigaBay machines to give the presumably higher-end Striders a place between the OctigaBay machines in the entry and midrange HPC markets and the Cray X1 at the high-end. At least, this was clearly the impression that Cray was trying to give Wall Street as it announced the deal – although the technical specifics of Red Storm and its Strider variants are unknown.
What is clear is that the OctigaBay 12K is not an entry or midrange HPC box. What OctigaBay is, then, is a credible threat that cannot be allowed to either fall into the hands of Cray’s rivals – who were apparently sniffing at the company, but not willing to buy just yet. So Cray snapped at the opportunity, and the 66 people at OctigaBay can now avoid the hard work of building a sales organization and competing against Cray’s Strider line and what will probably be a slew of Opteron-based HPC systems that come onto the market.
This article is based on material originally published by ComputerWire