Fujitsu puts Sparc M10 servers in the cloud for big retailers

While most of the public cloud runs on low-cost x86 hardware, it's not the only game in town. Rackspace is building a service using a new server based on IBM's Power processor, and now Fujitsu is making moves with its Sparc-based M10 Unix systems.

On Tuesday, Fujitsu launched a managed cloud service in North America that's aimed at retailers like Safeway and Costco and brands like Nike and Banana Republic. It's designed to let them test and deploy new commerce applications quickly without having to build new infrastructure in house. The service is based on the Oracle Commerce Platform and uses software from Grid Dynamics to manage and monitor the cloud environment.

Ferhat Hatay, senior manager for strategy and innovation at Fujitsu, said big retailers are looking to build new applications that give them a single view of their customers across physical stores, the web and mobile, so they can improve service and target people with new offers.

They could look to public clouds like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, but he says Fujitsu's M10 servers offer greater performance and reliability than those companies can offer. Its Solaris servers can be configured with larger memory pools than x86 systems, for instance, so customers can do real-time analytics on much larger data sets.

"No matter the workload, our servers can scale," Hatay said. "AWS and EC2 don't always provide the performance you need."

It's a new area for Fujitsu and one it plans to expand. The company is talking to telcos about providing Infrastructure as a Service offerings based on its M10 systems, though it's not ready to talk about those yet.

The technology from Grid Dynamics is called Tonomi, and it comes from its acquisition of Qubell earlier this year. It provides the "glue" between the high-level applications and the cloud infrastructure beneath, said Stan Klimoff, general manager for cloud at Grid Dynamics. It allows customers to link their internal development environment to Fujitsu's data centers so they can build and test new apps on premises or in the cloud and then push them into production on Fujitsu's managed environment. 

The service is being sold by Fujitsu Technology and Business of America, a subsidiary of the Japanese IT giant. It's available now in North America, on a monthly subscription basis, with Europe and other regions to follow. Pricing wasn't immediately available.

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