U.S.-based enterprises got a new high-end server option last week as Fujitsu Technology Solutions Inc. began shipping the fifth generation of its Solaris-compatible PrimePower servers and laid out an aggressive road map for using its SPARC64 chip technology.
The Sunnyvale, Calif., companys offerings included the PrimePower 16-processor 900, 32-processor 1500 and 128-processor 2500 servers. All run the Solaris operating system and are powered by Fujitsus proprietary Unix-based SPARC64 chips, which are compatible with Sun Microsystems Inc.s SPARC architecture. The servers also offer the companys X-Par partitioning technology, hot-plug capabilities and automatic instruction retry, said officials at Fujitsu Technology, a member of Fujitsu Ltd.s group of businesses.
The servers are targeted at companies that need powerful systems for mission-critical back-end applications, including databases, e-mail, and customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning applications. It also would be useful for businesses looking to consolidate servers, officials said.
Fujitsus SPARC64 chip runs at 1.35GHz. The company said it will introduce a 1.62GHz chip by the end of the year and a 2.4GHz chip early next year, all built using the 0.13-micron fabrication process.
Also next year, Fujitsu will introduce a 2.4GHz SPARC64 chip with 4MB of Level 2 cache built using the 0.09-micron process. In addition, Fujitsu will launch chips with dual-core processing capabilities, essentially putting two chips on one piece of silicon. In 2005, the company will up the speed to 3GHz, officials said, followed by a 5GHz chip in 2006 and a 6GHz chip in 2007. Also by 2006, Fujitsu will introduce a chip with four-core processing capabilities, the officials said.
Rich Partridge, an analyst with DH Brown Associates Inc., said Fujitsu brings a lot of technological experience into the U.S. Unix market. Its chip technology offers many capabilities found in mainframes, such as the ability to correct errors on the fly. Fujitsu seems ready to cut prices to help establish a beachhead in North America, said Partridge, in Port Chester, N.Y. "There is a need for choices, particularly within the Unix market, and while I wouldnt expect to find Fujitsu displacing Sun, I think customers would like to have an alternative to consider," Partridge said.
The road map comes less than two months after Fujitsu, a longtime Sun ally, announced an agreement with Intel Corp. to build high-end 32-bit Xeon-based systems by the end of next year and 64-bit Itanium-based systems in 2005, including servers that will scale up to 128 processors.