Fujitsu Boosts Performance of Its M10 Servers

The vendor said faster SPARC64 X+ chips will help the M10-1 and M10-4 servers, jointly developed with Oracle, increase performance by 30 percent.

Fujitsu server

Fujitsu is bulking up its M10 midrange server portfolio with models powered by the new eight-core 3.7GHz SPARC64 X+ processors, which officials said will boost performance by as much as 30 percent over current systems.

The company announced that the single-socket, 1U (1.75-inch) Fujitsu M10-1 and the compact M10-4—four sockets in a 4U (7-inch) form factor—with the more powerful SPARC64 X+ chip now offer the same performance as the scalable M10-4S server, which already runs on the 3.7GHz processor. Fujitsu officials said the combination of the higher performance and the compute features in the systems makes the new models ideal for cloud workloads and analytics for the rapidly growing amounts of data that are being generated by mobile devices like smartphones and tablets as well as sensors and other compute systems that make up the burgeoning Internet of things (IoT).

The enhanced servers come a year after Fujitsu rolled out the latest of the M10 systems, which are jointly developed with Oracle. After buying Sun Microsystems for about $7.4 billion in 2011, Oracle picked up Sun's chip-developing partnership with Fujitsu. Oracle has leveraged the server and chip technology it inherited from Sun to develop its own SPARC-based portfolio of highly integrated systems optimized to run the software giant's enterprise applications, including database and cloud offerings.

At the same time, Oracle continued to work with Fujitsu in developing the SPARC64 processors and M10 servers, which were first launched in 2013.

"The new Fujitsu M10 servers offer enhanced options for customers seeking mission-critical computing solutions for cloud or data center deployments," Oracle Chief Corporate Architect Edward Screven said in a statement, adding that "this is the latest of many advances that have resulted from the strong, ongoing collaboration between Oracle and Fujitsu."

The M10-1 and M10-4 systems now come in models that offer three different processor speeds to enable customers to more easily find the right servers for their workloads, according to Fujitsu officials. The systems run Oracle's Solaris 11.2 operating system—which comes with support for the OpenStack open-source cloud orchestration technology—Oracle Database 12c software and Oracle Database In-Memory technology.

They also feature Fujitsu's software-on-a-chip technology, in which processes once handled by software—such as decimal arithmetic processing, high-performance computing arithmetic computational extension and cryptographic processing—are put into the SPARC64 X and X+ chips, which officials said provides faster applications results.

"The new Fujitsu M10 entry-level and mid-range server models strengthen the overall Fujitsu M10 portfolio's ability to meet customers' needs and improve return on their investments," Akira Kabemoto, senior executive vice president at Fujitsu, said in a statement.

Since the Sun deal, Oracle has seen mixed results in its hardware business, though it has cracked the list of the world's top five largest server makers and has seen improved results in recent quarters. According to IDC analysts, Oracle's server revenue in 2014 came in at more than $2.3 billion, good enough for No. 5 on the list and a 4.6 percent share of the market. Along with the SPARC-based systems, Oracle also is continuing to sell x86-based servers.

However, with their Unix-based systems, both Oracle and Fujitsu are competing in a space that continues to shrink in the face of the growing popularity of servers based on the x86 architecture. IDC analyst said that in last year's fourth quarter, revenue for non-x86 servers fell 14 percent over 2013, to $3 billion, or about 20.7 percent of the market. It was the 14th consecutive quarter of revenue declines, they said.

The market not only includes Unix servers, but also the early beginnings of the ARM server space, the analysts said.