Sun, Fujitsu To Ship Identical Servers

server storage

Sun and Fujitsu each rolled out a new line of servers that are identical in functionality and name, and differ only in the vendor badge and the front bezel.

The only other difference between the two is what they bring to their respective markets, said Bob McGaughey, director of enterprise servers in Sun's systems marketing group.

"Each company will have its own offerings, depending on its own mix of applications and services," McGaughey said.

The two companies jointly unveiled a new line of midrange and enterprise servers based on the new SPARC64 VI processor and Sun's Solaris operating system.

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The two companies said in 2004 that future development of the SPARC processor would be handled by Fujitsu.

In addition to the new processors, Fujitsu also contributed its mainframe technology to the jointly developed servers, McGaughey said. Sun contributed Solaris 10 and its CMD chip architecture, he said.

The use of Solaris 10 is important because it assures binary compatibility with Sun's Sun Fire server line and Fujitsu's PrimePower server line, McGaughey said. "Binary compatibility is guaranteed by Sun, which means customer investment in technology and training is preserved," he said.

The new Enterprise M-Series of servers scale from two to 64 SPARC64 VI processor sockets, or up to 128 processor cores, said Gordon de la Mare, director of strategic account business development at Fujitsu. When quad-core, quad-thread processors are released, the servers can be upgraded, he said.

New to the line for both vendors is two midrange servers.

The M4000 can be configured with up to four 2.15GHz SPARC64 VI processors, 128 Gbytes of memory, and two 2.5-inch SAS hard drives. It also comes with two Gbit Ethernet ports, four PCI-E ports, one PCI-X port, an external I/O expansion slot and support up to two partitions.

The 58000 is similar to the M4000, with all the above-mentioned components doubled.

For enterprises, there are three new models.

The M8000 can be configured with up to 16 SPARC64 VI processors, 512 Gbytes of memory, and 16 2.5-inch SAS hard drives. It also comes with up to four system boards and up to 32 PCI-E slots and supports up to 16 partitions.

The M9000-32 is similar to the M8000, but has up to 32 processors, 1 Tbyte of memory, 32 drives, eight system boards and 64 PCI-E slots. The M9000-64 has double the number of those components. Both the M9000-32 and the M9000-64 support up to 24 partitions.

Mark Teter, CTO of Advanced Systems Group, a Denver-based Sun solution provider, said he is excited by the new servers, and expects customers to look favorably on the new offerings despite that the overall non-Windows server business is not growing.

"Everyone in the industry, including the marketing people, think things move faster than they really do," Teter said. "But in big data centers, Unix is still the most important operating system. Our customers will adopt the new Sun technology to improve their applications."

For the time being, the Enterprise M servers are not intended to replace either the Sun Fire 10K or 15K server or the PrimePower servers, de la Mare said.

"Customers in this space move slowly, and have internal processes that take time," he said. "So they will continue to co-exist with existing servers for some time. Also, the new servers are for Solaris 10 only. Some customers are not ready to move to that operating system right away."

Fujitsu will also rebadge Sun's entry-level T1000 and T2000 SPARC servers for its customers.

McGaughey said that while Sun and Fujitsu will compete against each other with the same servers, the main competition will be with IBM and Hewlett-Packard.

"We've got great products to compete against IBM and HP," he said. "But will we compete against each other. Yes, we will. But as long as we increase the SPARC and Solaris environment, that's good for customers."

On the storage side, Sun on Tuesday unveiled the Sun StorageTek ST2500 Low Cost Array, a storage array based on the LSI Engenio controller with the same management functionality as Sun's current 6000 family of storage arrays.

Nigel Dessau, Sun's senior vice president of storage marketing and business operations, said the ST2500, which has a list price starting under $10,000, has three times the performance at half the cost of its primary competition, HP's MSA 500.

It supports both Fibre Channel and SAS host interfaces, and can be configured with a mixture of SAS and SATA hard drives. An iSCSI version is expected to be released later this year.

Also new from Sun is the ability to partition the vendor's SL8500 tape library to allow it to simultaneously connect to both open systems and mainframe environments, Dessau said. "This is the first time this capability is available in an entry-level library," he said.

Sun also unveiled a new version of its T10000 FICON tape drive with native tape encryption included.