Fujitsu shows new servers, faster chips

Fujitsu Technology Solutions Inc. (FTS) Wednesday said that it will revamp the midrange of its Unix server line this year and bring on faster processors for all of its systems by 2003.

FTS, a unit of Fujitsu Ltd., will start shipping a new 32 processor PrimePower server in December and then follow that product release by increasing chip speeds across its server line in the first quarter of 2003, said Richard McCormack, vice president of product marketing at FTS.

The PrimePower systems use Fujitsu's own SPARC (scalable processor architecture) chips and the Solaris operating system from Sun Microsystems Inc. Fujitsu has long sold in the Asian markets but has used its FTS arm, based in Sunnyvale, California, to begin tapping the North American market.

FTS will deliver the 32 processor PrimePower 1500 server in December with 810MHz SPARC64 processors. The company currently ships up to 16 processor servers with these chips.

FTS will upgrade its PrimePower line in March of 2003, adding up to 1.3GHz processors. This could give the company a further edge in several benchmarks where its 128-processor PrimePower 2500 holds a lead over competitors such as IBM Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Sun Microsystems Inc., McCormack said. However, all of these competitors are expected to upgrade their processors by 2003 as well.

The faster chips will include technology called hardware instruction retry that has been used by Fujitsu on mainframe class systems. This technology helps correct errors caused by outside interference from things such as sun spots and alpha particles. As processors shrink in size due to improved manufacturing processes, FTS claims that the chips will be more susceptible to errors caused by these types of conditions, McCormack said.

"Processor sizes are shrinking and shrinking to the point where these gamma rays and other problems can affect the processors on a frequent basis," he said.

After more than one year, FTS has shipped 1,000 PrimePower servers in North America, putting itself on the server map here.

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