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Fujitsu expected to deliver Itanium giant

Can it sell one?

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Tremble in fear, server vendors. Fujitsu is about to release one of the biggest, baddest Itanium servers around.

Okay, the thought of a 64-processor Itanium box would be a bit more intimidating if servers running on the processor sold well. But poor pick-up for Itanic won't stop Fujitsu from unleashing its 64-way beast tomorrow at an event in San Francisco. Fujitsu, of course, is not confirming that the box will appear tomorrow, but industry insiders say it's a go.

Like most Itanium vendors, Fujitsu has had a rough run with Intel's 64-bit chip. It has sold one- to four-processor Itanium boxes for some time; it just hasn't sold very many. In 2003, for example, Fujitsu shipped just two Itanium servers, according to Gartner. Thankfully, it pushed 2004 shipments up to 233 systems.

Now it will attack the elusive high, high-end of the Itanium market with a 64-processor box. A system of that size puts Fujitsu up against HP for business customers, and against SGI in the high performance computing market. These are really the only three major server makers to have Itanic boxes of such grand proportions.

Fujitsu hasn't said much publicly about the 64-way server - a system it once hoped to get out in 2004. It is clear though that Fujitsu will tout the system's ability to run both Windows and Linux. In addition, Oracle will be promoted as the database of choice on the high-end kit.

In the past, Fujitsu has stressed its ability to bring mainframe technology to the Unix, Linux and Windows markets. One such mainframe touch on the new Itanic beast will be the ability to carve it up into 16 partitions.

Fujitsu is one of the few vendors to sell Itanium gear alongside its homegrown Unix kit. It has entered into a partnership with Sun Microsystems to sell SPARC-based Solaris servers for years to come.

Expect more on the new server when it arrives tomorrow. ®

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