Silicon Graphics Ports Data Mining Tool to NT
Silicon Graphics Inc. (www.sgi.com) is continuing its push onto Windows NT with the port of its integrated data mining and visualization tool, MineSet.
The version for Windows NT, MineSet 3.0 Enterprise Edition, is expected to be available this summer. The mid-February announcement follows SGI’s recent introduction of two powerful Windows NT workstations and the company’s disclosure that it would be wading into the Intel-based server market, providing hardware that supports both Windows NT and Linux.
SGI’s goal for MineSet is to integrate complementary analytical and visualization tools so business users without analytical training can identify trends and critical patterns in data.
"With data visualization, people didn’t understand how the pictures on the screen mattered to the bottom line," says MineSet product manager Aydin Senkut. "With data mining, most of the time it has required the user to be an analyst or have some statistical background."
SGI ported the Windows NT version from its own Irix flavor of Unix. Servers running MineSet on Windows NT perform all the same functions as Irix servers except 64-bit parallelization. Windows clients can also connect to Irix servers if necessary.
The horizons of business users aren’t the only ones SGI hopes to broaden with the port. The limited penetration of the Irix operating system has constrained sales of MineSet. Most of the existing 9,000 MineSet licenses are academic, with about 2,000 business licenses held by about 200 corporate customers, Senkut says. "On the Unix side, any time we go to a corporate customer the user base is basically in the tens," he says. "With Windows versions, it will be at least in the hundreds if not thousands."
One barrier that may limit MineSet from exploding into the enterprise on Windows is the client requirements. At this point, the SGI product requires 64 MB of memory, but recommends 96 MB of memory, 65,000 colors and 1,024X768 screen resolution. These levels are no problem for anyone who snaps up one of SGI’s muscular new 320 and 540 workstations for NT, but may prove difficult to match among computers used by most enterprise employees.
Analyst Herb Edelstein, president of the data mining-focused Two Crows Corp. (www.twocrows.com), says MineSet’s visualizations are spectacular. "In terms of the integration of analytics and visualization, SGI is probably the leading product," Edelstein says.
Edelstein’s research finds SGI entering a crowded and rapidly growing market of at least 18 data mining products on Windows NT. This segment has yet to develop clear market-share leaders. MineSet is one of at least three data mining products headed for Windows NT this summer: The other two are Darwin by Thinking Machines (www.think.com) and Orchestrate from Torrent Systems (www.torrent.com). SGI, meanwhile, has an installed base of users who liked the product on Irix and haven’t deployed other products on NT. "I think [MineSet] will expand the market," Edelstein says.