Fujitsu Revs Low-End Servers

Vendor debuts PrimePower systems.

Fujitsu Technology Solutions Inc. is bringing mainframelike capabilities into the low end with the next generations of its two entry-level PrimePower servers.

Introduced last week, the Solaris-compatible PrimePower 250 and 450 systems include self-healing and self-monitoring technology and can be connected via the Internet, e-mail or in-house connections to remote monitoring services, according to officials with the Sunnyvale, Calif., company.

They also feature hardware retry capabilities, enabling the systems to retry a failed instruction at the hardware level, the officials said. This allows for an immediate retry of the instruction, rather than having to flush and rebuild the software buffers. In addition, there are other parity checking functions that ensure processing and cache errors are corrected automatically.

America West Airlines Inc. has been shifting much of its computing infrastructure from Sun Microsystems Inc. to Fujitsus PrimePower line and recently installed several 250 and 450 systems, CIO Joe Beery said. Fujitsus push to bring mainframe functionality into these servers made them the obvious choice over Sun, said Beery, in Tempe, Ariz.

"The driving force for us was, we had to maintain a Solaris platform," Beery said. "We just couldnt afford to go from Solaris to AIX or anything else, and that is something that Fujitsu has been saying since they got into this area a few years ago. Our reliability is much better now than it was with Sun."

The new systems complete the refresh of Fujitsus PrimePower lines of servers that was started last year, according to the officials.

The PrimePower 250 includes up to two 1.1GHz SPARC64 chips and up to 8GB of memory. The 2U (3.5-inch) rack-mounted version includes three PCI slots, and the 7U (12.25-inch)-pedestal version includes six PCI slots.

The four-way 450 offers up to 16GB of memory and six PCI slots in the 4U (7-inch) rack-mounted version, with nine PCI slots in the 7U- pedestal version. Both come with Fujitsus Extended System Control software, which offers remote monitoring and management capabilities, and both offer 220MHz buses and 1MB of Level 2 cache.

NEBS (Network Equipment Building Standard)-compliant versions of the systems for more rugged environments outside of the data center—such as telecommunications uses—will be available in September, officials said.

Fujitsu last week also upgraded its eight-way PrimePower 650 and 16-way 850 systems with 1.08GHz SPARC64 V chips and announced plans to upgrade them to 1.35GHz chips in the near future. The 1.35GHz chips are slated to launch in the second half of the year, followed by 1.62GHz and 2.4GHz versions into next year. Also next year, Fujitsu will introduce multicore processors and in 2006 will roll out four-core processors.

The 250 and 450 systems are available now; pricing starts at $7,500 for the 250.