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Fujitsu remakes its storage self with catchier brand name, new products

Fujitsu is trying to put its name on the storage map, at least in the U.S. The company is re-branding its storage systems, software and services while adding new connectivity options to its GR Series Storage System line.

In its latest move to make an impact on the U.S. storage market, Fujitsu Technology Solutions Inc., Sunnyvale, Calif., announced a new brand name for its line of storage systems, software and services.

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The storage industry is heaped with competition from startups and technology giants. Without a recognizable brand name it's almost impossible to get a second look from potential customers.

"This is Fujitsu's recognition that it's not enough to just put technology in place," said Wayne Giroux, director of Storage Marketing, Fujitsu.

According to Fujitsu, the company's new brand, dubbed Eternus, incorporates hardware, software, and IT services from Fujitsu, complemented by offerings from strategic partners including Brocade Communication Systems Inc., Veritas Software Corp., Microsoft Corp., and Oracle Corp.

Randy Kerns, senior partner for the Evaluator Group Inc., Greenwood Village, Colo., said Fujitsu created its own confusion in the U.S. by absorbing the Amdahl brand back into the Fujitsu name.

"They broke apart their U.S. operations and now they're coming back together" he said.

Fujitsu is trying to bring all of its companies and divisions together (there are 87 companies, 21 of which are based in the U.S.) and marry all of its business units -- from services to telecommunications to software and storage -- under the Eternus brand.

"The big problem [in this market] is name recognition and market penetration," said Kerns. He added that Fujitsu has experienced success in the Asia-Pacific and European markets.

Fujitsu is targeting end users who are in search of a one-stop-shop for storage, servers, software and services, including storage management, disaster recovery, virtualization, consolidation, business continuity, data migration, and back-up and recovery.

As a part of the launch, Fujitsu also announced enhancements to the connectivity of its storage product line.

The Fujitsu Eternus GR Series Storage System line, are now equipped with up to 48 100MB/sec Fibre Channel ports that directly connect to servers, which expands its ability to consolidate and share system resources without requiring a storage area network (SAN).

Servers attached to the Eternus GR Storage systems can access any device in the storage pool, while ensuring failover and fault tolerance, Fujitsu said.

Kerns said the connectivity enhancements to the Eternus GR 740 are an option for users that do not want to install a switch fabric. The GR740 has 48 Fibre Channel ports with the switches "under the covers." It is basically a SAN-in-a-box, he said.

"It's not really a different solution than a SAN, its just simpler," said Kerns.

The difference between the GR740 and high-end systems from EMC or Hitachi is that the GR740 is a distributed architecture versus a cache-centric design. In a cache-centric environment all of the I/O activity goes through the same cache. Distributed products have independent controllers with independent caches for speed.

The other unique aspect of the GR740 is that it is the only distributed storage system that supports the mainframe world, Kerns said.

The GR740 was initially architected for the open systems world and given ESCON connectivity along the way. Kerns said competing products were architected for mainframe first and then given plug-ins for open systems functionality.

The Eternus GR Storage systems now feature 18-G Byte and 36-G Byte drives that run at 15,000 RPM (the company also provides 73-GByte drives).

These systems are available now in the United States, Europe, and Canada through Fujitsu Technology Solutions.

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