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Fujitsu Boosts Processor Speed by 20%

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Fujitsu Technology Solutions (FTS) Tuesday continued its drive to forge a space for itself in the U.S. server market by giving its PRIMEPOWER series of UNIX servers a 20 percent performance boost.

The company, which first made its move on U.S. shores less than a year ago (though it existed as Amdahl Corp. in the U.S. before that), has been moving aggressively to make a name for itself in a market dominated by IBM Corp. and Sun Microsystems. On Tuesday the company announced the availability of its high-end SPARC-compliant, Solaris Compatible PRIMEPOWER 800, 1000 and 2000 servers with 675 MHz SPARC64-GP processors. Additionally, its mid-range 200, 400 and 600 servers are now available with 600 MHz SPARC64-GP processors.

Richard McCormack, vice president of FTS, noted that PRIMEPOWER is scalable to 128 processors, and customers can actually "mix and match" processors in the servers, giving them the ability to drop in faster processors as they become available while still utilizing older processors.

"The "mixed environment" protects customers' investment in the chassis," McCormack said.

"This is a very high-end product offering," said Richard Partridge, analyst and vice president of Enterprise Servers with DH Brown Associates. "The 128 way box that Fujitsu offers does have bragging rights of the most processors in the cabinet."

Commenting on the "mix and match" environment, Partridge added, "This ease of growth allows someone that starts with a more modest configuration to grow with the latest and greatest processor that will deliver the best price performance...You can incrementally grow your system by not having to pull out everything that was there and plug in some new stuff."

FTS also unveiled a series of new capabilities and system enhancements, including two clustering solutions, higher security, active resource management, remote monitoring and Web-based administration.

On the clustering front, FTS introduced PRIMECLUSTER, a solution for high application availability and scalability, and PRIMEPOWER Open Cluster, which supports a mixed configuration of PRIMEPOWER and Sun servers.

PRIMECLUSTER is a modular product that links servers together. It allows scalability services, parallel application services and high-availability services to coexist on a common cluster. For instance, scalable Internet services could be used to interface with high-availability applications, which in turn can request information from a large parallel database server -- all on the same cluster. PRIMECLUSTER services include cluster failover, data management, dynamic load balancing, protection from network errors and support for running parallel databases and applications. Specialized wizard tools are provided for Oracle Parallel Server, Real Application Clusters, SAP R/3, and EMC SRDF functions. PRIMECLUSTER will be available in January.

On the other hand, Open Cluster is based on Veritas clustering technology and is immediately available. FTS resells Veritas Cluster Server, Veritas Foundation Suite, Veritas Replicator and Veritas Volume Manager.

Fujitsu ARMTech supplies the new active resource management tools. ARMTech provides dynamic allocation, monitoring and delivery of contracted quality of service (QoS) to subscribers in order to support performance and availability for business-critical applications. FTS said ARMTech is modularly designed to seamlessly integrate with an operating system, and modules can be added and removed at run-time. ARMTech is available immediately.

The new PRIMEPOWER servers also include a remote monitoring capability that continuously monitors the servers for the health of hardware components like fans and power supplies. If the servers detect a problem, they can automatically "phone home" to the Amdahl Global Services Center, where technicians are notified and dispatched.

"This is really seen as a one-way tool," McCormack said, adding that FTS is still working on a remote management tool, which the company plans to release in the first quarter.

The servers also give system administrators Web-based system administration abilities, which allows them to monitor the servers remotely and get a detailed view of all hardware components.

Finally, for security, FTS partnered with Argus, which is providing the PitBull Secure Application Environment (SAE). PitBull protects against application security flaws by isolating applications in separate security compartments. Using PitBull, software bugs that could grant an attacker system-wide access when successfully exploited are relegated to a single security compartment.

"With PRIMEPOWER, our customers can depend on a system that speeds productivity and profitability," McCormack said. "PRIMEPOWER has been proven over and over again, achieving top place in worldwide benchmarks. It's the choice that will help our customers take advantage of new business opportunities and stay out front."

Fujitsu has managed to convince a number of key customers of that view. In the past quarter, customer wins include Daimler-Chrysler, Southwest Airlines, EMC and the Chicago Board of Options Exchange.

Partridge noted, "Worldwide, they are a serious player. Domestically, here in the States, there had not been great name recognition for Fujitsu products."

He said the company has been trading on past relationships U.S. companies had with Amdahl, and have been successful in that strategy. He also said there is opportunity in the server market, if the company plays its cards properly.

"I believe that there is opportunity for someone that has delivered service, has delivered high-end solutions with a platform that may not be broadly installed here as yet, but is not something that is brand new," he said.

Still, he said FTS may have a harder time growing once it has tapped the pool of companies familiar with Amdahl.