Thursday, June 13, 2024

Fujitsu Airs Low-end Servers with Mainframe Features

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Fujitsu Technology Solutions
(FTSI) Wednesday released two new Unix machines for the entry-level market
that feature the high-end capabilities of mainframes, which analysts say
make them the most powerful machines for the low-end market.

FTSI’s Primepower 250
and 450 models are high-performing servers with smaller footprints than
comparable machines from rivals IBM, HP and Sun Microsystems. Solaris
compatible and SPARC compliant, the servers extend to the network’s edge
customer-facing systems and applications.

The play is consistent with the broad industry trend of crafting powerful
machines at low price points for cost-conscious customers in a time when
infrastructure spending is weak. The new servers are targeted at smaller
businesses who need more power but can’t afford to upgrade to larger
servers. FTSI joins the fray as the latest competitor looking for a piece of
that pie, as rivals regularly undercut each other by offering products that
provide more value for less money.

Vernon Turner, group vice president, Global Enterprise Server Solutions at
IDC, approved of the new servers.

“Fujitsu’s new generation of servers bring high-end system performance to
the low end that has not been seen to date,” Turner said. “As customer
performance demands continue to increase at the entry level, Fujitsu’s
Primepower 250 and 450 are addressing the most urgent computing needs by
giving customers mainframe-like capabilities, reliability, and

Sunnyvale, Calif.’s FTSI has fitted the 250 and 450 with new self-healing
and self-monitoring architecture features to safeguard businesses from
downtime due to failure. They can also be connected via the Web, e-mail or
private connection to remote monitoring services to address problems. FTSI
had previously only made such features available in its midrange and
higher-end models.

eXtended System Control Function (XSCF) technology boosts the reliability of
all functions within the server to an autonomic self-healing capability,
making way for reduced operational costs.

Turner told features like these at a low entry point on RISC-based platforms are rare, noting that other vendors offer bits and pieces of similar features but not necessarily as one turnkey solution with memory and CPU checking features.

“This is unique in that they are setting the stage for higher-level mission-critical applications,” he said. “These RAS capabilities are something you typically find on the Wintel volume-based platforms.”

Primepower Marketing Manager Tom Donnelly told the
industry has come to a point where “you can’t make any servers without them”
because customer demand for autonomic computing is so high.

Donnelly said another carry-over from the high-end models is a feature
called “hardware instruction retry,” a characteristic endemic to FTSI’s
Primepower line that lets the machines retry a failed instruction at the
hardware level, enabling the instruction to be retried without tinkering
with the software buffers.

Donnelly said Primepower 250 and 450 compete with myriad models from rivals.
He said the 250 competes with Sun’s Sun Fire 240R and 280R in terms of
price, is more powerful than the 240R and a tad less powerful than the 280R.
The 450, meanwhile, is comparable to the Sun Fire 480R. He also said
Primepower 250 rivals IBM’s pSeries 610 while the 450 compares to the
pSeries 630 in price and performance. As for HP, the 250 and 450 compare
with that vendor’s RP2400 and RP5400, respectively.

The Primepower 250 and 450 machines are equipped with two to four 1.1 GHz
processors, respectively, and perform up to six simultaneous instructions.
They offer 1 MB of on-chip Second Level Cache and larger disk capacity to
address edge server needs. Pricing starts from $7500 for the 250, while the
450 starts at $26,900.

In related news, Fujitsu announced performance upgrades to its Primepower
8-way 650 midrange and 16-way 850 high-end servers, respectively. Both
systems will now feature 1.08 GHz SPARC64 V processors, with upgrades up to
1.35 GHz in future product enhancements.

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