December 02, 2005
Silicon Graphics Inc. showcased its compute, storage and visualization solutions at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC), Nov. 28-Dec. 1, demonstrating the kinds of collaborative visual environments utilizing multiple data sources that government and analysts use for homeland security, defense and intelligence applications.
Defense and intelligence sensors, satellites and other assets generate massive amounts of data essential for combating threats to America's national security. The problem is providing timely insights that effectively link the vast number of disparate and complex data sources government decision-makers and analysts must use to address U.S. national security challenges. What is required is the ability to rapidly access, process, visualize and share massive amounts of data from different sources in a way that government agencies can uncover the critical linkages and insights in the data.
"Now more than ever federal, state, and local agencies need to integrate stove piped systems into a Common Operating Picture through shared data in a visual format that turns vast amounts of data into the knowledge required for making and communicating critical decisions," said Thomas Stanley, director of defense and intelligence, SGI Federal. "Data and media fusion are critical for government leaders and planners to make timely decisions using SGI's core competencies of high performance compute, storage and visualization of massive and dissimilar data sets. This ability to ingest, fuse and display data in an ultra-high resolution format with collaboration across multiple clients and locations empowers decision-makers with the ability to visually represent complex data and to effectively transform the defense and intelligence decision cycle."
At I/ITSEC 2005, SGI showcased the SGI Altix family of servers and supercomputers powered by Intel Itanium 2 processors and running the Linux operating system. SGI's Altix architecture provides a platform for a variety of HPC government applications, including ballistic missile defense, homeland security, weather and climate forecasting, simulation-based acquisition, training systems, research and development, command and control, and surveillance and reconnaissance.
SGI combines high-performance compute technology with advanced visualization capabilities in the new Silicon Graphics Prism system. A networked Silicon Graphics Prism deskside system and a mid-range SGI Altix 350 server demonstrated how Visual Area Networking (VAN) technology can be integrated to enable collective interaction as well as improve efficiencies in data management and sharing in a real-time environment. Through VAN, remote users of mission-critical applications using SGI OpenGL Vizserver software can access large visual data sets.
Multiple government users running Linux, IRIX, Solaris and Windows operating systems need access to large data sets as they move through various stages of the defense and intelligence decision cycle. The SGI InfiniteStorage CXFS shared filesystem within an SGI Storage Area Network is designed to enhance workflow and reduce costs by eliminating file duplication and the time it takes to move large files over the network. Unlike network file sharing, where all data goes through the file server (which often becomes a bottleneck), CXFS reads and writes data directly over the SAN to and from disk.
Demonstrations at the SGI booth also included a centralized diskless boot server enabling "live" Multi-Level Security data-classification changes. The SGI Diskless Operation Server Solution solves one of the most demanding system administration challenges facing government agencies: managing the classified data that requires processing information at multiple levels of security. Built on SGI InfiniteStorage technology at its core, the Diskless Operation Server architecture allows customers to choose between a high-performance SAN or a low-cost NAS to access shared data on a system by system basis.
Using Intel Itanium 2 processors and ATI FireGL graphics, Silicon Graphics Prism demonstrations at I/ITSEC highlighted a new Media Fusion environment that exploits the potential of a scalable shared-memory architecture to manage the ingestion, fusion and sharing of pixel data from multiple sources. Visual information from multiple PC- and Silicon Graphics Prism-based applications were integrated and displayed in the SGI booth on a Sony SXRD 4K projector with 3840 x 2160 pixel resolution. The image in the demonstration was seamless and displayed multiple video data streams in real time in an ultra-high resolution format.
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