"HP, Dell, IBM and now Fujitsu all have 4-way servers based on the same Intel processor-based designs," said James Staten, an analyst at Forrester Research (Cambridge, Mass.) "We see 4-way servers fitting a couple of primary market opportunities: big database, big application and server virtualization."
The very large database (VLDB) space has been the traditional market for these servers, Staten said. Users of such machines tend to prefer equipment that is easy to configure and provides plenty of capacity. However, the growth of virtualization has shaken things up. Nowadays, more companies are interested in 4-way units as a means of harnessing the potential of the virtual world. That market, therefore, has become a major driver for the 4-way sector.
Thus, it presents a key growth opportunity for Fujitsu and other vendors playing in this space. With 16 CPU cores in a single 4U system, each virtual server can have its own dedicated CPU or a greater pool of CPU resources that can be spread across more workloads.
These types of servers also open up the opportunity to bring larger, more resource-hungry workloads into your consolidation strategy. A very hungry application, for example, can be paired with several less hungry applications of lower business priority.
"The Fujitsu box provides lot of expandability, which is vital for getting the resource ratios right for a wide variety of workloads," said Staten. "For example, a medical imaging application may require the full 128GB of memory for max performance vs. a stack of virtual servers, which may require more disk space than memory."
The Fujitsu RX600 S4 is powered by from one to four Intel processors. These can be single-, dual- or quad-core. However, according to Richard McCormack, senior vice president of marketing for Fujitsu Computer Systems (Sunnyvale, Calif.), the default choice is now quad-core. These 64-bit chips offer the potential of 16 cores when fully loaded. Not surprisingly, most customers prefer that option.
"We sell primarily quad-core models today," said McCormack. "The dual-core models are sold to customers who are focused on single threaded performance. This means they have a specific application that responds well to a dual-core processor."
Several configurations are available. At the lowest end of the quad-core market comes a Primergy RX600 with only one Xeon E7310 1.60 GHz processor. It is equipped with 2GB of RAM, one small form-factor (2.5 inch) SAS drive with 73 GB of capacity and spinning at 10k. With a rackmount kit with cable management throw in, it comes to $6,120.
McCormack points out, however, that relatively few customers go that basic. He said the typical entry-level model comes with considerably more horsepower an RX600 with two Xeon E7310 1.60 GHz quad-core chips, 16GB of RAM and 4 73 GB SAS drives. That comes to $12,900 and includes a CD-RW/DVD slimline drive, a battery backup module for integrated RAID and a rackmount kit with cable management.
The most common 4-socket configuration, on the other hand, makes use of the Xeon E7330 processor. Its 2.40 GHz quad-core chips are supported by 32GB of RAM and 4x 73 GB SAS drives at a price of $17,900.
"All configurations include redundant power supplies, an integrated SAS RAID controller with 512MB cache memory, 4x 1 Gb Ethernet LAN ports, and integrated Remote Management Controller (iRMC) for out-of-band remote management," said McCormack.
These machines can be installed with a variety of operating systems. This includes the most generally used versions of Windows Server, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, as well as VMware. Moving forward, Fujitsu is planning to continue beefing up this heavy-duty box with further features to accommodate virtualization.
"We are already seeing the impact of virtualization on the industry servers, and this trend will continue," said McCormack. "There will be an increasing premium on systems with support for large memory spaces, robust I/O expansion, and strong processing power, which are critical in that environment."
He pointed out that the current RX600 platform supports twice the memory of its previous generation, and a whole lot more horsepower. In the near future, McCormack said memory capacity will double again as DIMM densities increase.
"As more and more servers are virtualized, reliability and remote management will become even more important, and the Primergy RX600 is strong in these areas," said McCormack. "Fujitsu is making big investments in remote management and data center automation."
As the RX600 serves the large scale database or enterprise-class application server space for midsize and large enterprises, it tends to face off against competing boxes from all the major OEMs.
"The Primergy family of servers competes against HP, IBM and Dell," said McCormack "We see their 4-socket servers often in bids."
|Name||Primergy RX600 S4|
|Processor Details||1-4 x 64-bit Dual-Core and Quad-Core Xeon processors|
|Hard Drives||Up to eight 36GB, 73GB or GB SAS drives|
|Operating Systems||Windows and Linux|
|Configuration Options||For $6120, you get 1x Intel Xeon E7310 1.60 GHz quad-core processor, 2 GB RAM 1x 73GB SAS drive
For $12,900, you get 2 x Intel Xeon E7310 1.60 GHz quad core, 16 GB RAM, a CD-RW/DVD slimline drive, 4x 73 GB SAS drives
For $17,900, you get 4x Intel Xeon E7330 2.40 GHz quad core, 32 GB RAM, CD-RW/DVD slimline drive, 4x 73 GB SAS drive