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Analysis

Fujitsu's ETERNUS global storage launch includes enterprise capabilities for low-end
Peter Williams By: Peter Williams, Practice Leader - IT Infrastructure Mgmt., Bloor Research
Published: 10th June 2009
Copyright Bloor Research © 2009
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Fujitsu has made huge strides since the dissolution of its close alliance with Siemens back in March. Last month I reported on Fujitsu's PRIMERGY BX800 and Dynamic Cube BX900 blade server launch and asserted its aim to be seen as a top global player. I knew there was no risk in my signing off by saying: "Stay tuned for further Fujitsu announcements soon." This week came its next global product announcement—this time covering storage.

Fujitsu has extended its existing ETERNUS brand to be the global name for all its storage hardware and software, and has introduced some new models. So this announcement can be seen as complementary to last month's PRIMERGY brand announcement for application servers—the two being key building blocks towards a coherent and comprehensive product, solution and services portfolio for sale around the world.

An interesting development this time is the inclusion of enterprise-class functionality in entry-level storage systems for Fujitsu's first two models—the ETERNUS DX60 and DX80 RAID-based online storage systems. These two replace the FibreCAT SX and ETERNUS 2000 and will be available from 1st July, priced from a very modest 3,800 Euros.

Also announced is the entry-level tape systems range now known as ETERNUS LT; the ETERNUS LT 20, 40 and 60 replace FibreCAT TX. Likewise, Fujitsu has also re-branded its leading CentricStor virtual tape library (VTL) system designed for large data centres as ETERNUS CS. A new version 4.1 is announced which has updated hardware, tighter disk-tape integration, performance enhancements and greater scalability.

The enterprise-class features on the DX60 and DX80 include: hardware encryption for greater security and compliance, drive spin down (using MAID technology to temporarily power down drives not used for several minutes) to save on heat and power, solid state disk (SSD) storage and 4 or 8Gb/s fibre channel (FC) connection so super-fast data I-O can be achieved.

As prices fall, SSDs will become ever more attractive, especially for tier 1 storage, with an I-O rate as much as 30 times that of spinning disks (although much less for write-intensive functions) while also requiring very little power. However, as standard, the DX60 has 2GB of cache and supports 24 SAS or NL SAS drives (max 24TB with NL SAS) plus 4Gb/s FC; the larger DX80 supports 120 SAS/NL SAS drives and 8Gb/s FC, and has 4GB of cache.

An open question is to what extent this functionality and scalability is needed right now by low-end businesses; but it is certainly true that some of them are now dealing with storage volumes close to those that confronted enterprise customers only a couple of years ago—and with no extra staff to cope. So the features they and mid-range customers will need are those that simplify management and day-to-day running in particular.

To complete the picture on this week's releases, the ETERNUS LT 20, 40 and 60 tape drives are 1U, 2U and 4U with capacities of 12.8, 38.4 and 76.8TB respectively.

These bald facts on the new storage product families are indicative of an ongoing major global review and alignment of all Fujitsu products and services, not least because they should overall be easier to understand. Undoubtedly, they will also be providing good value (or they would have been jettisoned).

IBM and HP will no doubt be keeping a close watch on every Fujitsu announcement; they know the company has deep pockets and so is serious in its plans. For the record, Fujitsu posted consolidated revenue equivalent to $47bn for the year ended 31st March and has around 175,000 employees in 70 countries. No small beer.

So I expect some more major releases as the year progresses and in areas yet to be addressed such as infrastructure management and software as a service (SaaS). As before, stay tuned.

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