Fujitsu Claims Energy Lead With Dynamic Cube Primergy BX900

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Cisco and HP should fear the German engineering in this brute’s cooling system, and its two extra blades, says Fujitsu

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Fujitsu has claimed a lead on energy savings with the Dynamic Cube – a converged data centre product combining networks and servers, which competes with the likes of Cisco’s Unified Computing System and HP’s Matrix.

The Primergy BX900 – which Fujitsu calls the Dynamic Cube – combines up to 18 server blades, along with six network modules and four power supplies, with two management modules in a single rack “cube”. The system can support virtualised servers under all the major market hypervisors, all managed from one screen using Fujitsu’s ServerView management software.

“No system on the market is more energy efficient,” said Jens-Peter Seick, senior vice-president of Fujitsu’s x86 server business, claiming the Cube can save up to 25 percent of the energy used by rivals such as Cisco’s UCS and HP’s Matrix. It also gives better uptime, allowing any of the blades to act as active or passive backups to the others. Up to four blade cubes can be combined, with up to 72 blades managed as one unit.

The company is making a serious attack on rivals, with plans to sell 500,000 units in 2010, and to own ten percent of the server market by 2012.
Detailed comparisons with rivals will have to wait until the benchmarks are published, said Seick, but he claimed that, since the Fujitsu Cube supports two more blades than its rivals (18 compared to 16), it would perform 12 percent faster. It also holds more storage (up to 2.5Tbyte) and its 4Gbips mid-plane is wider than the rivals, he said.

“Cisco’s UCS is built from a network perspective, which is good for I/O, but not so good for servers,” said Jelle Vervaeke, senior product manager for the Cube. “Compared to HP’s Matrix, it is not pulled together out of existing components, but is completely new.”

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The mid-plane is particularly good, he said, because it uses passive, not active, components: “It is completely passive, and has no single point of failure,” he said. “Passive components do not break so easily, unless you would drive a bulldozer over it.”

However, the cooling system was the Cube’s strongest point, on the basis of features emphasised at the launch. Vervaeke stressed the German engineering in the machine – inherited from Fujitsu’s purchase of the Fujitsu Siemens joint venture last year. The fans are modular and slotted into the power supply modules, which “saves space and provides a constant flow”, he said, and the honeycomb holes on the front of the server modules provide more air flow: “we have 36 square centimetres of holes. HP has only 26 square centimetres, and needs a big turbine to cool it.”

The box is compatible with other vendor’s recent announcements, said Vervaeke. For instance, it can run VMware’s Cloud OS, vSphere, if the user only has VMware virtual machines: “When you have a heterogeneous environment, with VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V and Xen, then we step in with ServerView and offer the complete range.”

Early analyst reaction is favourable: “We expect to see Fujitsu gain share in the upper segment of the blade server market as a direct consequence of this launch,” said Vernon Turner, vice president of enterprise infrastructure at analyst firm IDC.

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