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Fujitsu to Build 128-processor Itanium Systems for 2005

Fujitsu Limited late last week joined the growing number of hardware vendors building massive server systems based on Intel's 64-bit Itanium processor family.

Fujitsu plans to deliver 128 processor Itanium-based systems by the end of 2005. Fujitsu announced plans to make more conventional systems available by late 2004 built with Intel's 32-bit Xeon DP and Xeon MP chips.

The Fujitsu announcements were timed to coincide with momentum around the Linux World show last week, and Fujitsu also unveiled a new Linux systems organization within its Enterprise Systems Group. But Fujitsu explicitly stated that it will support Windows with the Itanium-class system.

Intel officials took the announcement as another endorsement of the enterprise competitiveness of the chipmakers' products.

"Fujitsu has strong roots in mainframe-class servers," said Jason Waxman, marketing manager for enterprise processors at Intel. "To have a company that has focused on the highest of the high end now indicate that they see Itanium and Xeon as a strong part of their future, it really means that there's no segment of the enterprise that Intel products can't reach."

Fujitsu currently sits at the top of the most closely watched scalability benchmark in the industry, the Transaction Processing Performance Council's TPCC benchmark of OLTP performance. A 128-processor Fujitsu system running Sun Solaris has the top performance for a system anchored by a one-node database.

Unisys Corp., which currently sells 32-processor Itanium-based systems, has also disclosed plans to expand to 128 processors in the future. Hewlett-Packard Co., the co-developer with Intel of the Itanium processor, plans to offer its 64-way Superdome servers with Windows Server 2003. NEC Corp. also offers a 32-processor Itanium-based system that currently holds the TPCC performance record for a single database server running Windows Server 2003.

In November, Microsoft announced that it was doubling the processor support limits and quadrupling the memory support limits in the 64-bit version of Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition. Microsoft's high-end operating system will now support 64 processors and 512 GB of RAM.

About the Author

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

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