The Fujitsu-Siemens partnership between Japanese server maker Fujitsu Ltd. and German computer maker Siemens AG have announced two new additions to their Primergy series of X86 servers.
The new entries, which include a new uniprocessor tower and rack server and a four-way blade server, are aimed at keeping the heat on Dell Inc, Hewlett-Packard Co., and IBM Corp. in Germany and Japan, where Fujitsu-Siemens not surprisingly often sets the local pace for technology and pricing.
Midrange and large enterprises may like feature-laden servers (or have to buy them because that is what is available from the key vendors), but there is a growing number of small and mid-sized businesses and niche jobs at large enterprises where a simple, uniprocessor server that can be bought in a tower or jammed into a standard rack is what they really need.
This uniprocessor market is one of the key drivers of X86 server volumes, and while it may seem that server makers are fighting over scraps in the entry market, today’s entry server buyers are tomorrow’s big iron buyers. If customers have a good experience with their first server vendor, they will not have a compelling reason to change vendors as they grow. So the big server makers have been fighting like crazy to innovate at the low end and sell the boxes for ridiculously low prices. This has been great for customers, but difficult for server makers stuck doing the Server Pricing Limbo.
The new entry Primergy servers, the TX150 S2 tower model and the RX100 S2 rack model, demonstrate that Fujitsu-Siemens, the number five server maker in the world, is dancing as fast as its bigger rivals. The machines can support 32-bit 2.8GHz/256KB cache Celeron processors with a 533MHz frontside bus or 64-bit capable Prescott Pentium 4 processors running at 2.8GHz, 3GHz, or 3.2GHz. (The Prescotts have 1MB of cache and an 800MHz frontside bus.)
The new entry Primergies support up to 4GB of PC3200 ECC main memory. A disk controller with support for RAID 0 striping or RAID 1 mirroring is embedded on the Primergy TX150 and RX100 motherboards, which also have dual embedded Gigabit Ethernet NICs. The tower model has room for four SCSI or SATA disks, with a three-bay expansion chassis for SCSI disks, while the rack model has two hot-plug SATA disks.
The tower machine has two regular PCI slots and two PCI-X slots and, while the rack model has only two PCI slots. In a base configuration, the Primergy TX150 costs $1,400 when sold through Fujitsu Computer Systems, which peddles the Fujitsu-Siemens product line in North America.
Fujitsu-Siemens has also launched a new four-way blade server based on the Gallatin Xeon MP processors, the Primergy BX600. In February, Fujitsu-Siemens rolled out a line of uniprocessor blade servers based on the Pentium M mobile chips, called the Primergy BX300. While the BX300 was aimed at relatively modest infrastructure workloads, the BX600 is aimed at heavy-duty application and database serving.
The BX600 chassis is a 7U box that can house up to five four-way blades based on the Xeon MP processors (the chassis can also support ten of Fujitsu’s existing BX400 two-way blades). The four-way blades use Xeon MPs running at 2.8GHz, 3GHz, and 3.2GHz with a 400MHz frontside bus; they support up to 16GB of main memory and have two 146GB Ultra320 SCSI disks. Each blade server has an embedded RAID 0/1 disk controller and four Gigabit Ethernet ports.
Through the Fujitsu Computer Systems channel, the base BX600 with a single four-way blade costs $18,000. (That blade server does not have the full complement of processors, but exactly what is on the blade is unclear). Each additional four-way capable blade (again, in a base configuration) costs $8,500. The blades support Linux 2.4, Linux 2.6, and Windows Server 2003. The blade servers also come with a free license of Fujitsu-Siemens’ ServerView Management Suite for configuration and administration.