What does the name of Fujitsu’s new blade-based data centre system, the Dynamic Cube, actually mean? Forget the speeds and feeds – Peter Judge wants occult significance
The press launch of Fujitsu’s new blade servers had a hypnotic quality. A succession of executives intoned “Primergy BX900… The Dynamic Cube”. The same words boomed from a video presentation. Over and over again.
For a while it seemed as if the Germanic-Japanese heritage from the Fujitsu-Siemens joint venture, now absorbed into Fujitsu, might have created a drinking game. But anyone who downed a shot of beer or sake every time an exec said those words would not have lasted till the question-and-answer part of the session.
The endless repetition of the name made me wonder if there was more to it. Why the Dynamic Cube?
For its own data centre box, HP went with the Matrix – a nicely resonant word (originally from “mother” or “pregnant animal”) to describe a machine that can embrace and support multiple applications. Obviously, of course, HP was referncing the Matrix movies, to get something a bit darker, and more exciting. But unpacking that takes us somewhere a bit more threatening: The Matrix enslaves humanity, giving it an illusion of reality. Is that what HP had in mind?
Cisco takes a more prosaic approach, UCS (Unified Computing System) means little to anyone, apart from Cisco’s bold bid to annex the unfamiliar term “Computing”. No danger of any unforeseen associations there.
But Fujitsu opens up a whole can of worms with the Dynamic Cube. “Dynamic” is mere marketing wallpaper, a word all vendors throw around (IBM’s Dynamic Enterprise, for instance), but coupled with “Cube”, we get a phrase that Fujitsu couldn’t resist repeating.
For me, I’m afraid, it echoed the “Cosmic Cube”, a super-device from Marvel Comics, which can turn dreams into reality and which gives its owner invincible power. Fujitsu execs sounded, to me at least, like the series of super-villains, from the Red Skull to Thanos, who seized the cube and expected to rule the world – or the universe.
Fujitsu’s ambitions – ten percent of the server market by 2012 – are a bit less dramatic, fortunately enough.
The cube is one of the platonic solids, and has a long history in symbolism. Kepler linked it to the orbit of Saturn, and others took the symbols into higher dimensions with tesseracts or hypercubes. Salvador Dali used one for a higher-dimensional crucifix.
Pedants have noted that Fujitsu’s Pimergy box is not an actual cube, but a cuboid, with different lengths in each dimension.
Maybe if the company had got them equal, it would have ruled the world.