Hardware Today: Fujitsu Server Snapshot Page 2


Quest Takes on IBM and HP
The big news, as noted above, is Fujitsu's introduction of the Primequest family of servers, which start shipping later this year. Based on Itanium processors and designed with mainframe technology and features, Primequest servers operate in Linux and Windows environments.

"Primequest Itanium servers allow customers to scale-up their Linux and Windows applications where high CPU and I/O performance and data center class availability are key requirements," McCormack said.

While it's using an off-the-shelf Itanium 2 processors, the company developed its own chipset for Primequest for the first of the series to be made available in the fall — the Primequest 440 and 480 models. According to Illuminata, this pits Fujitsu firmly against the big server vendors.

"Primequest places Fujitsu in a gladiatorial coliseum with a considerable cast of competitors," Haff said. "Fujitsu has explicitly declared battle with IBM and HP."

IBM eServers, for example, have been performing well in the marketplace by combining Linux with POWER5 and Xeon MP servers. Fujitsu's latest line will go up against these IBM machines as well as HP Integrity Superdome systems using Itanium processors.

Developed in Japan by a team of 100 engineers, Primequest servers use Intel Madison 1.5 or 1.6 GHz processors. These new servers, though, will also support Intel Montecito dual-core processors when they come out in 2006 as well as the Montvale chips, which are expected to ship some time after that. On the software side, Primequest servers can run Windows Server (Enterprise Edition or Datacenter Edition), SUSE Enterprise Linux and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. These machines will be priced starting at $75,000.

With regard to specific models, the Primequest 440 has four system boards, 16 sockets and a half TB of memory. The 480 doubles the number of boards and sockets, though memory is pegged at a half TB in the initial version. That system, however, will soon be replaced by a 1 TB model. The system boards have a mirroring capability that allow it to be split into two segments for fault tolerance.

According to Haff, the hardware partitioning capabilities of Primequest leave something to be desired. Partitions can span multiple boards or can be as small as one system board containing four processors.

"A Primequest 480 with eight system boards today could be configured into a maximum of eight partitions," Haff said. "Compared to IBM or HP, this is a relatively coarse partition granularity."

Fujitsu notes that it plans to change things in subsequent Primequest releases. The current idea is to enable each board to be portioned into two partitions.

The Software Side: Management and Virtualization
The company has had a busy year, and by all accounts it has many more upgrades and announcements on the immediate horizon. In addition to the imminent release of the Primequest 440 and 480 servers and further upgrades to its Primergy and Primepower lines, the company is looking to add greater manageability to its server products as a whole. Although details of this are few, McCormack offered this when asked about further big plans for its server lines for the rest of the year:"Management and virtualization software is becoming more important across multiple technologies and platforms. Fujitsu will continue to introduce middleware software to manage multiple Fujitsu products and architectures. Customers will derive TCO benefits through increased server (and storage) utilization and simplified administration."

Hardware Today appears every Monday on ServerWatch.

This article was originally published on Jul 18, 2005
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