Fujitsu Rolls Out New Servers

Mirroring capabilities set them apart.

Fujitsu Computer Systems Corp. is making a play for the high end—currently dominated by the likes of IBM and Hewlett-Packard Co.—with a new line of servers powered by Intel Corp.s 64-bit Itanium 2 processors.

Fujitsu Computer Systems, a subsidiary of Fujitsu Ltd. located in Sunnyvale, Calif., last week unveiled the first systems in its PrimeQuest line: the 16-way 440 and 32-way 480. The new systems, which will be generally available in June, will offer a combination of power and manageability that officials hope will separate Fujitsu from its competitors.

The systems are the culmination of a partnership announced in January 2003 between Fujitsu and Intel, in Santa Clara, Calif. At that time, the companies said the goal was to create servers with up to 128 Itanium processors that would roll out this year.

However, Fujitsu officials said that with the release later this year of the dual-core Itanium 2—code-named Montecito—and multicore processors over the next few years, there is little need to go higher than 32 processors. Instead, a system with 32 dual-core processors will essentially scale up to meet demand for a 64-way machine.

The PrimeQuest systems will use the Montecito and the Itanium chips that follow when they are released, officials said.

Fujitsu also sells its Primergy line—which includes a mix of smaller systems running on both Itanium and Intels Xeon processors—as well as its RISC-based PrimePower systems, powered by its SPARC64 chips. In addition, the company is working with Sun Microsystems Inc. to develop a new family of SPARC-based systems—the Advanced Product Line—which will debut next year.

The PrimeQuest line will complement Fujitsus Unix servers, particularly as Linux becomes increasingly popular in the high-end space, officials said. It also will give Fujitsu servers the capability of handling larger workloads. For example, currently the biggest server for a SQL Server workload is an eight-way Xeon system, officials said.

However, Fujitsu faces stiff competition from HP, which is standardizing its high-end systems on the Itanium, and from IBM, which is expanding the reach of its Power architecture. HPs Integrity systems run Windows, Linux and HP-UX, and IBM is aggressively pushing Linux on its Power systems.

According to Gartner Inc., of Stamford, Conn., more than 26,000 Itanium systems were shipped in 2004, with HP accounting for 19,859. Fujitsu sold 233 systems.

A key differentiator for Fujitsu will be the mainframelike management features integrated into the PrimeQuest servers, officials said. Included are the system mirroring capabilities, integrated services and the ability to move I/O capabilities from one partition to the next within the same system.

The systems will be able to mirror everything from memory to operating systems within the system partitions, officials said.