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A more global Fujitsu adds a cube

Fujitsu, fresh from formally unveiling a new global organizational structure, is rolling out a new enterprise-class server blade line, informally dubbed "Dynamic Cube."

The "Dynamic Cube" is Fujitsu's first big server announcement since announcing sweeping changes to its corporate structure at the beginning of April.

By way of background, Fujitsu has been morphing into an organization that's about being an integrated worldwide business--rather than a Japanese company that opportunistically also sells elsewhere--for roughly a year now. In the case of North America, this meant creating an organization called Fujitsu America that consolidated the application services of Fujitsu Consulting, the system platforms of Fujitsu Computer Systems, and the retailing solutions of Fujitsu Transaction Solutions.

This reorganization also saw Fujitsu buying out its share of its 10-year-old joint venture with Siemens AG of Germany. The former Fujitsu Siemens Computers is now Fujitsu Technology Solutions, part of the global Fujitsu organization.

Fujitsu uses Dynamic Cube as a sort of informal moniker for its new BX900 blade server system. But it also applies to a broader collection of hardware and software components that virtualize servers and I/O--and manage those virtualized resources. These include:

  • PRIMERGY BX900: This is Fujitsu's third generation of blade servers. Its 10U-high enclosure (vs. 7U for its predecessor) houses up to 18 Intel Xeon 5500 ("Nehalem") processor-based blades (BX920 S1). Fujitsu expects this new enterprise-focused chassis to be sold for at least five years before changes are needed to support future processor generations. It uses a fully passive midplane with 6400 Gbit/sec of total bandwidth.
  • VMware ESX, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Xen (Citrix, Red Hat, Novell): Fujitsu relies on the standard x86 hypervisors to create a virtual server pool from the physical server blades in the BX900 chassis.
  • ServerView Virtual I/O Manager (VIOM) is an abstraction layer between servers and the network and storage. It's conceptually similar to HP's Virtual Connect and IBM's Open Fabric. The basic idea is that it lets server administrators move around Ethernet and Fibre Channel connections within a blade environment without having to  make changes to the broader data center network and storage infrastructure. Up to four enclosures can be part of a single VIOM domain.
  • This announcement also sees the global debut of ServerView Resource Coordinator (SVRC) Virtual Edition. It unifies virtual and physical management. It's not really a new product--internally its version number is 13.3. However, it was formerly part of Systemwalker, a large, monolithic management tool that Fujitsu only offered in Japan. Over time, Fujitsu plans to bring in other pieces from Systemwalker, such as storage and network management, while packaging them in a way that doesn't require the adoption of a complete Fujitsu management framework.

The relatively low profile of Fujitsu in North America has never especially been a product issue.  Fujitsu customers with whom I've met generally speak warmly of Fujitsu quality, capabilities, and support.

Rather the issue has been more one of Fujitsu's spotty approach to being a worldwide technology vendor. They've had pockets of success and investment but it's long seemed a bit ad hoc. With a clear corporate push behind getting more global, it's at least thinkable that we could start hearing more about Fujitsu in the U.S. And the BX900, together with its associated software, is a nice addition to its enterprise IT portfolio.