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SGI shoots for movie storage

Silicon Graphics Inc. aims its new data storage efforts at broadcasting and media production companies.

Silicon Graphics Inc. on Friday aimed its new data storage efforts at broadcasting and media production companies.

Using the International Broadcasting Convention 2003 in Amsterdam as a backdrop, the struggling computer maker said its storage technology speeds up work processes for broadcasters and production facilities by giving multiple users access to the same data at the same time. SGI also said its newly upgraded CXFS shared file system easily integrates with digital media management tools.

Movie production companies that work with huge digital files--they can be in the tens of terabytes--often face delays by having to transmit data among computers, when more than one person is working on a scene or movie, said Gabriel Broner, SGI's general manager of storage and software. With the CXFS software, companies can avoid "moving the complete movie or the complete scene from one machine to the next," he said.

Known for its high-end graphics computers, SGI has been struggling to halt a revenue skid. The company has axed 1,000 jobs this year, or about a quarter of its work force.

SGI is pinning some of its hopes for a turnaround on storage products that are aimed at helping companies handle growing mounds of data. This week, SGI launched a storage initiative that includes new products. Version 3.0 of its CXFS shared file system now supports Linux and AIX, IBM's version of the Unix operating system. In the past, CXFS has supported IRIX--SGI's version of Unix--along with Sun's Solaris operating system and Windows.

SGI also unveiled SGI Data Migration Facility version 2.9, which is software that can help companies move data from a higher-performance to a lower-performance system. It also introduced a number of new networked storage devices.

Richard Villars, an analyst with research firm IDC, said SGI's new storage products can help companies that require high-performance computing manage their data better. "You have to more effectively organize that information," Villars said. "You can't just throw more drives together."