Fujitsu Packs Itanium 2 Chips into High-End Servers

Fujitsu's PrimeQuest, a new line of Itanium 2-based servers, is aimed at the high end of the market.

Fujitsu Computer Systems on Tuesday unveiled PrimeQuest, a new line of Itanium 2-based servers aimed at the high end of the market.

At a press conference in San Francisco, officials with Fujitsu Computer Systems Corp.—a subsidiary of Fujitsu Ltd.—were joined on stage by executives from Intel Corp., Red Hat Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Oracle Corp. in the launch of the 16-way 440 and 32-way 480.

The systems will be launched later this week in Japan and Europe. That they were unveiled first in the United States is an indication of the importance Fujitsu Ltd., of Tokyo, is placing on the market here.

"This is the first time Fujitsu has used North America" for a major product launch, said Chiaki Ito, executive vice president for Fujitsu Ltd., underscoring the fact that Fujitsu is more than a Japanese vendor.

"Were aiming for a global [market]. In fact, were talking almost one-third of demand coming from Asia, one-third from Europe and one-third from North America."

The PrimeQuest systems—which will be generally available in June—offer a combination of power and manageability that the company hopes will enable it to compete with the likes of Hewlett-Packard Co. and IBM in the high-end space.

They are the culmination of a two-year partnership with Intel focused on developing high-end SMP systems running on Intels 64-bit Itanium architecture.

When the deal was first announced, officials with both companies spoke about rolling out systems with as many as 128 processors.

However, with dual-core computing coming to Itanium processors later this year—with the release of the chip code-named Montecito—and multi-core chips on their way in coming years, the need for such a high number of processors in a single system has lessened, said Richard McCormack, vice president of product and solutions marketing for Fujitsu Computer Systems, in a product prebriefing.

With dual-core chips—two processing cores on a single piece of silicon—a 32-way server essentially can do the work of a 64-processor system.

Fujitsu also sells its Intel-based Primergy line, which includes a mix of smaller systems running on both Itanium and Xeon processors.

Fujitsu is moving into a highly competitive area of the industry. HP, of Palo Alto, Calif., is standardizing its high-end servers on Itanium, with its Integrity line being able to run Windows, Linux and HP-UX.

IBM also is pushing Linux on its Power architecture, with systems running the chips also supporting its Unix operating system, AIX.

At the same time, both Fujitsu and partner Sun Microsystems Inc. play in the high-end Unix space with their SPARC-based systems.

/zimages/4/28571.gifRead more here about Suns plans to collaborate with Fujitsu.

The two also are collaborating on a new line of SPARC systems—the Advanced Product Line—which is set to debut in 2006.

Next Page: How will PrimeQuest avoid competing with Fujitsus and Suns other servers?