Fujitsu Primes the Canadian open server market

The Canadian small-scale server market this month welcomed an old player with a new name.

Fujitsu Technology Solutions Inc., formerly Amdahl Canada Ltd., has officially introduced its new look to the Canadian market place and, at the same time, introduced Primepower – a new open system server line.

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

Although Canada is the last country on its list to witness the launch of Primepower, Fujitsu said the timing is carefully planned. The product release had to coincide with the re-branding of Amdahl to Fujitsu 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 of products and solutions marketing for Fujitsu in Sunnyvale, Calif., said because the Fujitsu name is unfamiliar to the Canadian market place, the company will face tough challenges.

“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.

Fujitsu said it can offer customers lower total cost of ownership via its managed services. And with its enterprise experience – including expertise gathered with the acquisition of Amdahl and DMR Consulting – the company said it has the ability to handle data centre challenges.

At least one long-term Amdahl customer said the change is positive. Fred McCallum, director-general of network and computer services with the Department of Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), 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.

“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 noted that although the initial take over of Amdahl in 1997 shed some negative undertones for the U.S. company, in retrospect the move has proven good for the company.

“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.”

According to research from analyst firm IDC, low-end server sales have been the least affected by the spending slowdown over the past 24 months. Fujitsu accounted for approximately 2.1 per cent of worldwide server shipments in 2002, and by far the bulk of its sales occur in Europe and Asia. Hewlett-Packard Co., meanwhile, controlled 25.3 pre cent of the market.