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Fed Storage Spending Lifts Off

Storage gear will soon gather and back up data from places where no human has yet dared to go -- and apparently, it's all part of a trend.

NASA is loading up on storage systems from Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) (NYSE: SGI) and other providers for its Project Columbia, designed to accelerate the rebirth of space missions.

NASA plans to use twenty 512-processor SGI Altix supercomputer systems with a 500 terabyte InfiniteStorage SAN system to create its Space Exploration Simulator. Gear from Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD), Engenio Information Technologies Inc., and Voltaire Inc. will also be part of the simulator, which will be among the worlds largest Linux-based supercomputers.

The NASA project comes at a time when federal government IT spending is picking up. According to a report from market research firm Input, the U.S. Federal Government awarded more than $23 billion in IT contracts during the second quarter of 2004, up 50 percent over the $15.5 billion awarded during the second quarter last year. Input says the federal IT storage-related budget grew from $121.1 million in 2003 to $134.3 million this year.

Input doesn’t break out how many contracts are storage related, but storage vendors have announced partnerships with around half of the most active defense contractors listed in the report, including Lockheed Martin Corp.

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