Smaller players in the IT hardware space can often be overlooked because dominant players cast such a long shadow. So as someone who roots for the underdog, I do enjoy shining a little light on an overlooked bit of news.
Fujitsu is not the first name in data center hardware here in the U.S. Its primary place of business is its native Japan. For example, it built the RIKEN supercomputer, one of the 10 fastest in the world. But it has some good hardware offerings, such as its Primergy and Primequest server line. Well, now the company has partnered with NetApp to offer them converged and hyperconverged systems.
Converged and hyperconverged infrastructure (CI/HCI) is a fancy way of saying tightly integrated systems that combine compute, networking and storage into pre-tested and pre-configured stacks for a single turnkey solution rather than buying and assembling one.
Pretty much every vendor has them: Dell EMC has VxRail, XC Series and VxRack Flex; HPE has CloudSystem and SimpliVity; Lenovo has Converged HX; Cisco Systems has the FlexPod, VxBlock and HyperFlex HX offerings; and Oracle has its Exadata/Exalogic engineered systems.
Fujitsu is combining its server technology with NetApp storage and networking from Extreme Networks, essentially bringing together three companies left out of the CI/HCI party.
What is NFlex converged infrastructure?
The NFlex converged infrastructure combines Fujitsu’s Primergy CX400 M4 servers and ServerView Infrastructure Manager with NetApp’s all-flash FAS A-Series or hybrid flash FAS arrays and OnTap data management software, as well as a switch from Extreme Networks, all running VMware vSphere.
The NFlex offering is aimed at both the enterprise and midmarket. All of the components, from compute and memory to storage and types of storage as well as networking, will be individually scalable and won’t be dependent on the other. You can add more storage without needing more compute, for example.
The hardware is standard server hardware, but the software is pretty impressive. Fujitsu’s ServerView Infrastructure Manager does as its name implies and automates configuration, software installation and firmware updates to hardware and provides system monitoring of both physical and virtual machines. It’s also integrated with VMware’s vCenter.
NetApp’s OnTap platform offers a range of data management capabilities, such as inline deduplication and compression, advanced drive partitioning, data protection and automation based on RESTful APIs.
The NFlex systems can be bought from either company. Interestingly, they go on sale first in Europe, the Middle East and Asia early next year, with worldwide availability after that.
New Fujitsu Primequest and Primergy servers
Separately, Fujitsu also announced the newest version of its Primequest and Primergy servers. The Primequest 3400E and 3800E come in a smaller form factor than previous versions, a new 7U form factor. They feature new advanced RAS features for mission critical workloads like OLTP, batch processing, database applications and real-time analytics.
The Primergy TX2550 M4 and RX2520 M42 are entry-level dual-socket servers aimed slightly lower than the Primequest line. Both are aimed at more general computing tasks. They come in both rack and tower form and are fully customizable in terms of compute, memory, storage and networking options.