Fujitsu expands midrange Unix server line

Fujitsu Technology Solutions Inc. (FTS) beefed up its midrange server line Tuesday, trying to tempt mid-sized businesses to choose the new PrimePower 650 and 850 products instead of more expensive high-end servers.

Fujitsu's PrimePower line runs Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Solaris operating system and uses processors made by Fujitsu that are compatible with Sun's Sparc processor family. The company has done well in Europe and Asia but continues to struggle in a highly competitive U.S. market, according to industry analysts.

The new systems should provide users with more options in the Solaris-centered hardware market. Although companies such as Dell Computer Corp. install Solaris on servers upon special request from customers, Fujitsu is one of the few vendors other than Sun to offer the popular operating system as a standard feature. Solaris is one of the most widely used platforms for business, government and scientific applications.

With the PrimePower 650 and 850 rack servers introduced Tuesday, Fujitsu will try to attract more business users in the U.S. The systems will use recently released 675MHz Sparc64-GP chips, which the company claims should provide enough horsepower to let the new servers compete against higher end products, the company said in a statement.

Fujitsu users now should find it easier to choose the right size server to run particular applications.

The 650 can come equipped with as many as 8 processors and will start at US$180,000 with 4G bytes of memory and four processors. The 850 will hold as many as 16 processors, but the company did not immediately provide pricing information on it. Both systems will be available in December, the company said in a statement.

Fujitsu is pitting the new servers against Sun's V880 product. Users, however, will find that the V880 comes in at a much lower starting cost than what Fujitsu currently charges.

A V880 with four of Sun's UltraSparc III processors running at 750MHz, with 8G bytes of memory, starts just under $50,000, according to the company's Web site. An eight-processor system with 32G bytes of memory comes in just under $120,000.

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