Fujitsu, Sun releasing new slim servers

Fujitsu Technology Solutions, a subsidiary trying to reproduce Sun Microsystems' success with servers, has begun selling a new slim server--but its competitor plans to move a step ahead.

Fujitsu Technology Solutions, a subsidiary trying to reproduce Sun Microsystems' success with servers, has begun selling a new slim server--but its competitor plans to move a step ahead.

Fujitsu Technology's PrimePower 1 is 1.75 inches thick and uses a single 500MHz Sun UltraSparc II CPU, a rack-mountable design that competes directly with the Flapjack Sun introduced in June 1999 and updated in January.

But Sun has skinny server plans of its own, the company said in January. The company has been working on a 1.75-inch-thick design that incorporates two processors, said Neil Knox, head of the group that produces the thin Netra designs for telecommunications companies that buy servers by the dozens and bolt them to racks. A source familiar with Sun's plan said the new design--the "Flapjack 2"--will debut in May with CPUs running at 700MHz.

Fujitsu Technology is a subsidiary of Fujitsu that sells servers that use either Sun's UltraSparc chips or its own version of the Sparc design. The company is making a new effort to crack the North American market, saying it's trying to take on competing Unix servers from Compaq Computer, IBM and Hewlett-Packard.

Although the company says it's not trying to steal away Sun customers, in practice the company has the closest competition to Sun machines, including high-end designs and use of Sun's Solaris operating system.

Several companies, including IBM, Compaq, Dell and HP, sell two-processor servers 1.75 inches thick, a measurement known as "1U." But servers of that size based on more powerful 64-bit chips are rarer; API NetWorks sells one using Compaq's Alpha chip.

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