Fujitsu and Oracle, a year after introducing the first of their jointly developed Fujitsu M10 servers, are rolling out upgraded systems powered by the new SPARC64 X+ processors that are faster and better performing than their predecessors.
The new systems, announced April 8, are aimed at server consolidation and modernization projects, and are designed to be highly and easily scalable. The new 16-core chips can run at speeds up to 3.7GHz and offer 1.3 times the performance of the earlier SPARC64 X processors, according to the companies.
"The enhanced Fujitsu M10 servers offer a new option for customers seeking mission-critical computing solutions," Oracle Chief Corporate Architect Edward Screven said in a statement.
Oracle and Fujitsu expanded their chip developing partnership three years ago, after Oracle bought Sun Microsystems. Since the acquisition, Oracle has launched a series of highly integrated systems optimized to run the software giant's database and other enterprise applications. Oracle also has worked with Fujitsu on the SPARC64 chip development and the M10 servers.
The systems come in three models—the Fujitsu M10-1, M10-4 and M10-4S. The new servers are designed to protect the investments businesses already have made in the Fujitsu systems and Oracle software. The Fujitsu M10-4S can support mixed SPARC64 X and X+ in a single system, and can run from one to 64 of the SPARC64 X+ processors. The M10 servers also run Oracle's Solaris 11 and Solaris 10 operating system, and through Oracle's Solaris Legacy Containers, also can run previous generations of Solaris.
The servers also offer a modular design, and with the companies' Physical Partition Dynamic Reconfiguration feature, enables the M10-4S to grow by adding processors, memory and I/O, and to do so almost no server downtime. In addition, the systems have such integrated virtualization features as physical partitions, Oracle VM Server for SPARC and Oracle Solaris Zones.
Since buying Sun for about $7.4 billion, Oracle has become a top server vendor, though its hardware business has struggled at times. According to IDC numbers, Oracle in 2013 tied with Cisco Systems for fourth worldwide in server revenues, though Cisco saw its revenues jump 38.7 percent from 2012, Oracle's fell 12.4 percent. However, in March, Oracle officials reported that in the calendar fourth quarter 2013, hardware system revenues were up 8 percent.
"Oracle’s Engineered Server Systems, including Exadata and SPARC SuperClusters, achieved over a 30 percent constant currency growth rate in the quarter, while throughout the industry traditional high-end server product lines are in steep decline," Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said in a statement at the time. "Our Engineered Systems business is growing rapidly for the same fundamental reason that our Cloud Applications business is growing rapidly. In both cases, customers want us to integrate the hardware and software and make it work together, so they don’t have to."
Still, Oracle and Fujitsu are fighting for a larger part of a shrinking pie. The Unix server market continues to shrink, with revenues in the fourth quarter 2013 falling 20.2 percent compared with the same period in 2012, according to IDC. Unix servers now represent 13.6 percent of the overall server market.