HPE buying Cray


I completely missed this news:

High performance computing is a key component of HPE’s vision and growth strategy and the company currently offers world-class HPC solutions, including HPE Apollo and SGI, to customers worldwide. This portfolio will be further strengthened by leveraging Cray’s foundational technologies and adding complementary solutions. The combined company will also reach a broader set of end markets, offering enterprise, academic and government customers a broad range of solutions and deep expertise to solve their most complex problems. Together, HPE and Cray will have enhanced opportunities for growth and the integrated platform, scale and resources to lead the Exascale era of high performance computing.

I’m having similar feelings about when Compaq bought DEC/Digital, though with a few more years under my belt to really appreciate it. Cray was the company featured in all my computer books growing up. Seeing the care and attention that went into crafting these supercomputers was awe-inspiring, as was the performance they mustered. In a world of car analogies, Cray was McLaren: cool, unobtainable, and incredible.

That awesome Cray logo

To be clear, this isn’t strictly-speaking the Cray that Seymour originally founded, it’s been through divestitures and buyouts and name changes since. But it still feels like the end of an era. What broke my heart a little was seeing this hugely influential technology company being described like that at the end of the press release:

Cray Inc. (Nasdaq:CRAY) combines computation and creativity so visionaries can keep asking questions that challenge the limits of possibility.

Here’s a photo I took at the Computer History Museum in Santa Clara last year, with a lab coat I may or many not have wanted to steal. If I had more money, I’d buy a dead Cray machine to use as a padded bench.

Photo at the Computer History Museum showing their Cray exhibit

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