Fujitsu Looks to Challenge Dell, HP in x86 Servers

Fujitsu unveils its Primergy BX900 blade system, an enclosure called Dynamic Cube that offers data center components such as storage, networking, computing and management software in a single offering. The move is similar to what vendors such as HP, Cisco, IBM and Sun are doing, although Fujitsu says its platform offers greater performance, density and energy savings. Fujitsu wants its worldwide shipments of x86 servers to grow from 270,000 in 2008 to 500,000 in 2010.

Fujitsu is looking to increase its share of the x86 server space against rival vendors such as Dell, Hewlett-Packard and IBM, and sees its new Primergy BX900 blade server system as a big step in that direction.

Fujitsu, which is aiming for worldwide x86 systems sales of 500,000 in 2010, on May 11 rolled out the new blade server system, which Fujitsu is calling the Dynamic Cube. The company sold 270,000 x86 servers in 2008, according to Fujitsu.

Manuel Martull, senior director of server product marketing at Fujitsu, said the capabilities in the BX900 blade system leapfrog what's offered by Dell, HP and others in performance, scalability, energy efficiency and density, and give Fujitsu a two-year innovation lead on its rivals.

The BX900 will be generally available May 25.

"Fujitsu is very committed to this [x86 server] business," Martull said.

Fujitsu's Dynamic Cube aims to offer everything that IT administrators need in the data center, including the server blades, a management blade, networking switches and redundant power supplies, all in a single modular unit.

With the Dynamic Cube, Fujitsu joins a growing list of vendors, from HP with its BladeSystem Matrix offering to Cisco Systems and its UCS (Unified Computing System) initiative, aimed at offering enterprises a complete data center package.

In Fujitsu's case, each BX920 blade server is powered by Intel's Xeon 5500 series processors, aka "Nehalem EP." Intel's chips are designed to improve performance while enhancing system virtualization capabilities and improving energy efficiency, and Fujitsu officials said the BX900 system takes advantage of those features.

Each chip on the BX920 blades offers up to 72GB of DDR3 (double data rate 3) memory. The use of the Nehalem chips and high-level I/O performance make the Dynamic Cube a good platform for virtualization and server consolidation projects, Martull said. Fujitsu's ServerView Resource Coordinator VE management software automates the management of both virtual and physical servers, he said, which simplifies the management of the environment.

Fujitsu will expand the reach of its management software by supporting rack server systems and offerings from other vendors, including Dell, HP and IBM, over the next few months, Martull said.

The enclosures also support 10 Gigabit Ethernet and Fibre Channel through eight bays for connection blades. Support for InfiniBand is a few months away.

In addition, Fujitsu's BX900 can fit up to 18 blades in its standard 10U (17.5-inch) chassis, compared with 16 enabled by HP and 14 by IBM, Martull said.

According to Fujitsu, enterprises also can reduce their power and cooling costs though the use of the Nehalem chips and Fujitsu's Cool Safe technology, which is found in all of Fujitsu's Primergy and Primequest systems. The design allows for better air cooling, and the company also offers liquid cooling technologies.

Being able to "daisy chain" multiple enclosures also contributes to scalability, Martull said.

The Primergy BX900 blade system is the first offering from Fujitsu since 2008, when the company got out of Fujitsu-Siemens, its joint venture with Siemens. Martull said having both Fujitsu and Fujitsu-Siemens offering products caused some confusion in the technology market. The new blade system marks the beginning of Fujitsu's efforts to clear up any confusion.

"Now all products are branded Fujitsu exclusively," Martull said.