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Profusion Wins in Fujitsu Servers for North America

Fujitsu Ltd. (www.fujitsu.co.jp) this week introduced eight-way servers based on the eight-way Intel Profusion architecture in North America.

The decision follows internal debate over whether to retain Fujitsu’s own eight-way chipset or move to Intel’s Profusion architecture, say executives at Fujitsu subsidiary Amdahl Corp. (www.amdahl.com).

"We made a really, really difficult decision," says Bruce Ruffin, an Amdahl executive familiar with the technical debates. While calling Fujitsu’s original design concepts "sensational," Ruffin says the call was made to go with Profusion just as the Fujitsu Synfinity architecture was about to be turned into a product.

The model number of the Profusion-based machine will be the Fujitsu Teamserver HS900, a 7U machine that will ship with up to 32 GB of memory and up to 72 GB of internal storage. Customer shipments with the HS900 are expected to begin in mid-December with full-scale availability before the end of the year.

Fujitsu’s decision for the North American market furthers Intel Corp.’s hegemony on its Profusion architecture, purchased from Corollary Inc. in 1997 and developed at Intel over the subsequent two years. Buying Corollary froze development on some other eight-way architectures. Fujitsu represented another path to eight-way, but eight-way performance under Profusion is acknowledged to approach the linear scalability that previous attempts at eight-way implementations on Intel servers lacked.

Another player that was not buying its eight-way chipsets directly from Intel, Hitachi Data Systems (www.hds.com), appears to have dropped out of the game. Published reports describe an October internal memo indicating that Hitachi would stop marketing its line of VisionBase servers in the United States. Through a pre-existing arrangement with Corollary, Hitachi had managed to ship Profusion-based systems in early 1999, months ahead of the competition. Hitachi officials did not return telephone calls seeking comment.

Fujitsu, meanwhile, has big plans for Intel architecture servers. The $43 billion a year, multipronged corporation’s goal is to be the third-ranking vendor of Intel architecture servers by the end of 2002. – Scott Bekker

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.