Fujitsu name comes north

While the large-scale server market has historically been riddled with competition, the small-scale arena has had few challengers competing for Canadian business. Late last month, the latter welcomed a new player to the fray – a name many Canadian organizations may not immediately recognize.

Formerly Amdahl Canada Ltd., Fujitsu Technology Solutions Inc., officially moved north on March 31, introducing its new look to the Canadian marketplace along with PRIMEPOWER, a new open system server line, as part of its world wide branding strategy.

A member of the global group of Fujitsu companies, Fujitsu Technology Solutions’ PRIMEPOWER is a Sun Microsystems Solaris compatible, SPARC-based commercial Unix server – the industry’s first 128-way Unix server, the company claimed.

Although Canada is the last country on the list to witness the launch of PRIMEPOWER, Fujitsu said timing is everything. The company told Network World Canada that with the re-branding of Amdahl to Fujitsu, the product release had to coincide in order to allow unfamiliar Canadian businesses to take a closer look at what the company has to offer.

“While the IT market is still tight and the economy is less than stellar, we have been re-positioning Amdahl with Solaris for a number of years,” said Tony Grice, president and general manager of Fujitsu in Toronto. “Even though we are going through a re-branding, it is not a huge change. We are not changing our direction or our mission.”

Richard McCormack, vice-president, products and solutions marketing for Fujitsu in Sunnyvale, Calif., added that because the Fujitsu name is unfamiliar to the Canadian marketplace, the company will face tough challenges – and is prepared to do so.

“We have to accept the fact that people don’t know who we are [here], so we need to have better price and better performance to reach out to new customers,” McCormack said. “The way we are reducing our total cost of ownership is through our managed services. We are able to handle the maintenance of entire data centres, not only Fujitsu-based, but we can support the competition as well. We have a large range of products and services that will save customers money today, not just three months or a year from now. With us, customers have one contact for both products and services.”

Fujitsu may have some challenges ahead, but at least one long-term Amdahl customer believed the change is positive. Fred McCallum, director-general of network and computer services with the Department of Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) and an 18-year Amdahl customer, explained that with the company spreading into the small server space, the PWGSC now has another company to bid for its business and bring down the dollar value.

“In the small server arena, we typically deal with Sun,” McCallum said. “We do a lot of business with Sun because no one else offers that type of technology. Now this gives us a choice.”

McCallum said that in retrospect, Fujitsu’s takeover has proven good for Amdahl.

“Amdahl has been a valued private sector partner,” he said. “They will still be Amdahl and we will still be happy to deal with them. It stands to reason that if you have a company that is short the capital and gets a boost from someone like Fujitsu, things have to be better off.”

Fujitsu PRIMEPOWER is available now. Details are available at