Fujitsu Makes Four-Blade Play

Fujitsu, lagging competitors, banks on design in market for four-way blade servers

September 2, 2004

2 Min Read
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Fujitsu Computer Systems hopes the race for supremacy among four-way blade servers is won not by the swiftest but by the densest.

When it comes to speed to market, Fujitsu is already a distant third. Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) shipped a quad blade server 19 months ago and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) followed last January. Fujitsu just got its four-way Primergy BX600 blade server out this week.

Fujitsus senior product manager, Jon Rodriguez, says Fujitsu is hoping to defeat the competition’s time-to-market edge with superior design. Each four-way blade chassis has been denser than its predecessor. Fujitsu’s chassis holds up to five four-way blades or 10 two-way blades. You can also mix and match two-way and four-way blades in the chassis. HP’s four-blade chassis allows only two four-way blades, and IBM holds four.

Four-way blades allow four processors -- in Fujitsu's case, four Intel processors -- per blade. “Blades are a flagship product for us,” Rodriguez says. “We try to hit the sweet spot, which is people looking to replace rackmount servers.”

Others have the same idea, as IDC predicts worldwide blade server revenue will grow from about $600 million this year to nearly $9 billion by 2008, and that blades will account for around 40 percent of the U.S. server market by 2006.IBM and HP have dominated the blade market so far. Fujitsu hopes it can make a dent in the market as blades enter a new generation with Intel Xeon dual-processor and quad-processor boards.

Along with four Intel Xeon processors, each of Fujitu’s new blades can hold up to 16Gbytes of memory, two hot-plug SCSI hard drives, and four GigE LAN ports per blade.

Rodriguez sees four-way blades driving applications such as intense financial transaction systems, high-performance computing, and enterprise databases.

“These are project-based servers,” he says. “Customers come to us for a specific project. They’re best used for small sets of applications running over a large group of heterogeneous servers.”

Pricing for Fujitsu’s four-way blade chassis start at around $18,000 for a single four-way blade, and just under $9,000 for additional four-way blades.— Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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