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12/8/2009
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Fujitsu To Offer Cloud Services

The company enters the ranks of cloud competitors, supplying compute infrastructure as a service through its expanded data centers.

Another supplier of cloud infrastructure services has entered into competition with Amazon.com, Google, and Microsoft: Fujitsu, with an expanded, 32,000 square foot data center in Sunnyvale, Calif.

Fujitsu will make servers, networking, and storage in the data center available for use by the hour in the first quarter of 2010, with an emphasis on services that enhance privacy and security in a multi-tenant facility. "We will primarily offer private cloud infrastructure for the enterprise and a platform of choice for independent software vendors," said Daniel Lawson, senior director of solutions offerings and architecture.

By "private" cloud, Lawson said he expects retail companies to be able to host transaction processing applications in the Fujitsu cloud and "remain PCI compliant." Fujitsu has primed its Dallas data center to serve as its retail processing site. Fujitsu will offer retail customers tailored services to make cloud computing more attractive to them, including Fujitsu's Global Store retail application as a service.

Lawson said Fujitsu will target other vertical industries, including financial services, manufacturing, and healthcare. The announcement said healthcare applications will be hosted in "a HIPAA compliant environment." When questioned further on that point, Lawson said the firm was still discussing healthcare data compliance with its Canadian data center, which currently does healthcare data processing. Healthcare regulations, however, change when crossing international borders.

Lawson said he expects 77% of the data center to consist of Windows servers, 16% Unix servers, and 7% Linux servers. The mix gives Fujitsu more of a mixed workload capability than Amazon's strictly Windows and Linux cloud service.

Fujitsu is also gearing its cloud operations to serve as a hosting center for independent software vendors to offer their applications as software as a service. CoolRock Software, a New Zealand supplier of e-mail management and archiving software, will offer its wares as a service in the Fujitsu cloud. Intershop Communications, a German supplier of e-commerce applications, will also offer hosted applications through Fujitsu.

"We need to be flexible. One size will not fit all," said Lawson in an interview. Fujitsu expects to deal with both large enterprises and small and medium-sized companies with its cloud offerings.

Fujitsu says it has expanded its Sunnyvale data center's compute capacity by a factor of eight; it has doubled the raised floor space. It's equipped the center primarily with Fujitsu Primergy RX300 servers, a dual socket Intel Xeon 5500 (Nehalem) machine occupying a 2u space in a rack. It will rely on Fujitsu Eternus storage, and Fujitsu 10-gigabit Ethernet switches for the data center's core backbone fabric. The facility has been upgraded to the Uptime Institute's Tier III standard, which means servers have redundant components and power supplies and can maintain a 99.98% uptime.

Fujitsu has also submitted an application programming interface to access services in its data center to the Open Cloud Standards Incubator of the Distributed Management Task Force, a public standards body. Fujitsu is following the example of VMware, which also submitted the specification for its vCloud API to the incubator. By becoming public standards, the APIs encourage cloud users to have confidence they will have "programmatic control" over workloads they send to the cloud and be able to move their workloads from the Fujitsu cloud to another cloud, if they choose. Fujitsu is seeking to standardize its API so customers "do not need to worry about vendor lock-in," said Lawson.

Fujitsu has previously established cloud services in Japan and Europe. The Sunnyvale announcement "is another step in a global rollout," he said.

Lawson said Fujitsu designs its data centers around energy efficient principles and reduces carbon emissions 21% over previous generation data centers. It includes a hydrogen fuel-cell generator supplying power to its cooling systems.

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