Fujitsu, Intel collaborate on Linux servers

Fujitsu Ltd. and Intel Corp. have agreed to develop servers and mainframe systems based on Intel processors and the open-source Linux operating system, the companies announced Thursday.

Fujitsu of Tokyo plans to launch dual-processor and multiprocessor servers equipped with Intel’s Xeon chips by the end of 2004 and follow up one year later with a range of larger servers, using as many as 128 of Intel’s high-end Itanium chips, to compete in the mainframe market, the companies said in a statement.

Intel of Santa Clara, California, and Fujitsu will also cooperate in creating a version of Linux optimized for Fujitsu systems, the statement said. Fujitsu will establish a Linux division with more than 300 engineers, the company said.

The deal with Intel signals a break in Fujitsu’s tradition of relying heavily on technology from Sun Microsystems Inc. Until now, Fujitsu’s Unix servers have been based largely on Sun’s Solaris operating system and a version of its SPARC (Scalable Processor Architecture) RISC (reduced instruction set computer) processors made by Fujitsu.

Sun invented SPARC but later transferred ownership of its specifications to an independent, nonprofit organization, SPARC International Inc., which licenses the technology and provides compliance testing.

The new Linux-based servers will form a “third pillar” in Fujitsu’s high-performance server strategy, joining the company’s existing Primepower servers and GS mainframes, according to Tadayasu Sugita, corporate senior executive vice president and chief technology officer (CTO) at Fujitsu in the statement.