Fujitsu Serves Eight Ways

Looks to lure users away from traditional SMP machines with revved-up blade server

March 15, 2006

3 Min Read
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Fujitsu today overhauled its high-end BX630 blade server, offering users eight-way processing in a bid to replace traditional symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) servers.

Fujitsu deploys a small connector kit, essentially a piece of electronic circuitry, to link four two-way BX630 blade servers to create its new multiprocessor offering. The vendor also has equipped the processors with HyperTransport technology. Developed by AMD, HyperTransport is a high-speed, low latency chip-linking technique designed to improve communication speeds between the vendor's dual-core chips. (See HyperTransporters Release Spec, Free White Papers on HyperTransport, and HyperTransport Consortium Intros New Spec.)

According to Richard McCormack, senior vice president of product and solutions marketing at Fujitsu, the eight-way AMD Opteron-based BX630s will meet a growing need for number crunching amongst users.

"The big demand that we get for eight-socket nodes is in the database sector," he tells Byte and Switch. Particularly interested are users running large SQL Server and Oracle applications, he notes.

At least one analyst sees Fujitsu's eight-way capability as a milestone. Joe Clabby, president of analyst firm Clabby Analytics, says that despite a flurry of activity in the blade server space from HP and IBM, eight-way machines are few and far between. "That's a hell of an engineering statement," he says. "Back in the day, if you wanted an eight-way, you would have had to buy a big SMP system."Clabby says that putting eight-way capabilities into a blade form factor could prove a boon for users struggling with limited data center space. "The whole idea with the blade is to reduce the amount of real estate that you need to occupy," he adds.

Russ Miller, director of the center for computational research at the State University of New York at Buffalo, which has built a major grid from standard Dell servers, likes the idea of a small-form-factor, eight-way blade. (See Buffalo Cluster's a Grid Cornerstone.) "It would reduce the space [needed]," he explains. "All things being equal, that could be a particularly exciting product."

Miller also anticipates potential cost savings compared to traditional high-end servers from the likes of IBM, SGI, and Cray. "Being able to do eight-way SMP processing with commodity chips could mean that the cost of doing eight-way shared memory could drop dramatically."

But Fujitsu has its work cut out, particularly in the U.S. blade market, where HP and IBM have already made an impact. (See IBM Flashes New Blades, IBM Unveils Cell CE, Blade.org Adds Voltaire , HP Powers Iris Recog System, and HP Releases Unix Blade Server.) What's more, Fujitsu's a more notable name in the Asian market than it is in North America.

"Fujitsu America is not at the top of the list for most IT buyers. Number one, they will have to improve their indirect channels," Clabby claims.Fujitsu's McCormack acknowledges the challenges. But he says Fujitsu plans to increase its presence in North America by presenting itself as a do-all business partner. "Many of the Fortune 2000 are looking to reduce the number of vendors they work with, but they need vendors that provide a range of products," he explains. "The full portfolio play is key for us."

The new eight-way blade server configuration, which is priced at $35,400, will be available in the second quarter of this year, according to Fujitsu.

James Rogers, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

Organizations mentioned in this article:

  • Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD)

  • Cray Inc. (Nasdaq: CRAY)

  • Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL)

  • Fujitsu Ltd. (Tokyo: 6702; London: FUJ; OTC: FJTSY)

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • SGI

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