Fujitsu brings its system-on-chip designs to the next level
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April 9, 2014
Fujitsu said earlier this morning that it's in the process of bringing its system-on-chip (SoC) designs to the next level for
two new super computers it says get 40 percent more processing capacity while consuming less than 50 percent of the power required.
The company also says that its GS-21 2400 and GS-21 2600 SoCs need 70 percent less data centre space. The SoC devices at the heart of
the two servers consolidate 14 chipsets, Fujitsu added.
The new servers can run up to eight cores, a 256 KB primary cache, 24 MB of secondary cache, I/O processor, memory controller and
The new units, due to ship in September 2014, include software enhancements supporting up to 10 virtual I/O configurations per cluster,
rather than the three original configurations per cluster of the current generation systems, with as many as 20,000 virtual I/O devices per
There's also various software enhancements-- standard SQL interfaces in the GS-21sx that features Fujitsu's “Data Utilization Pack”
providing server access to GS-21 network databases and relational databases.
The new design also features a Web interface that provides mainframe access from mobile devices and an access management UI that
offers design support, user authentication, and ID management.
Additionally, the company announced that it has won a contract to upgrade the supercomputers at Japan's space agency JAXA. It's
currently developing the planned 3.4 Petaflops machine, a successor to its PRIMEHPC FX-10, which will have 24 times the capacity of
JAXA's current super computer.
It's clear now that Fujitsu is competing headon with the likes of CRAY and other super computer makers. We'd be tempted to say
that Fujitsu is liking the higher margins on those SCs.
In other IT news
Seagate's fully owned subsidiary LaCie is announcing new storage solutions using 6 TB disks and Thunderbolt connections for faster performance.
That’s 12 TB in the 2-drive 2 big system, 30 TB in the 5 big enclosure and 48 TB in the 8 big rackmount shelf itself.
LaCie says the 8 big is its first rackmount Thunderbolt 2 connect product so far, but that others could be in the works soon.
The 2 big transfers data at up to 420 MB per second with its two Thunderbolt 2 ports. It can use USB 3.0 for more everyday connectivity.
It has a hardware RAID controller and a pair of hot-swap 6 TB Seagate drives spinning at 7,200 RPMs. The RAID provides 0 (striping) and 1 (mirroring)
levels with a JBOD facility allowing the two disks to be used independently.
LaCie suggests up to five 2 bigs can be Thunderbolt 2 daisy-chained with a 4K display to a MacPro to create a 4K video workstation with 72 TB
of raw storage capacity.
The 30 TB model can transfer data at up to 1,050 MB per second and has hardware RAID 0, 1, 5 and 6, and the JBOD facility is present
as well. There are dual Thunderbolt 2 ports again.
The spec sheet says users can reduce power consumption by pressing the front button to spin down disks without disrupting daisy chain
The 1U rackmount 8 big will cost more. LaCie says forget Fibre Channel, Thunderbolt 2 is better, and the system can deliver up to 1,330 MB per second-- “Unlike Fibre Channel,
Thunderbolt 2 is truly a plug and play and single-vendor solution. No port mapping or multithreading is required to achieve this performance.
Thunderbolt technology even supports optical cables, which means you could connect a LaCie 8 big rack system to a computer located up to 200 feet away.
There’s a hardware RAID controller with levels 0, 1, 5, 6, 10 and the JBOD setup option. With that kind of speed, videographers can work directly
from RAW files in Apple Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere, get maximum quality from footage, and see edits in real time.
There's no need anymore to first convert footage into a lower resolution. Avid Pro Tools users will also notice incredibly smooth audio mixing,
even when working with hundreds of tracks simultaneously.
Professional photography agencies and other Adobe Lightroom or Apple Aperture users can browse through archived libraries of thousands of
RAW and edited images, with zero lag.
There are a pair of power supply units for reliability and three redundant hot-swap fans. A 42U rackful of 8 bigs provides 1.7 PB of raw storage capacity.
LaCie provides RAID Manager software to set the RAID levels up and supports 4-disk RAID 5 to 8-disk RAID 6 migration. RAID 0 is limited
to just two disks by the way.
There’s a three-year warranty and AES 256-bit software encryption for the 8 big. All three of these LaCie products will be available this
quarter and prices are not yet being revealed as of now.
In other IT news
Seagate said earlier this morning it will soon offer new 6 TB hard drives that doesn't appear to use the slow write shingled
magnetic recording technology. The news are from the NAB event in Las Vegas, which opened Friday. There are details of the drive on Seagate's website, although the drive
has not been announced and is not yet available. Seagate says the new drive has 8th generation technology, that's gen-8 PMR (perpendicular magnetic recording) technology. It claims its
new drive "provides a 25 percent nearline performance boost over competitive offerings," with "best-in-class random and sequential read/write
The only competitive 6 TB offering similar to this is Hitachi's GST 6 TB He6 helium-filled drive, which we believe rotates at 7,200rpm.
We're told the new 6 TB Seagate drive, rated for enterprise applications, "is built to support 24x7 nearline workloads of up 550 TB per
year, which is up to 10 times the rated workload of desktop HDDs," and "50 percent more capacity over the last generation," which maxed out
at 4 TB.
The Enterprise Capacity drive offers these features:
7,200rpm spin speed
2, 3, 4, 5 and 6TB capacity points
Encryption option with Secure Instant Erase or SED FIPS 140-2 option
SAS 12Gbit/s and SATA 6Gbit/s interface options
25 percent increase in areal density
A 25 percent increase in areal density over Seagate's 4-platter 4 TB Surveillance hard drive would mean 1.25 TB platters, and five of these
would be needed to reach a 6 TB capacity level.
How many platters does the 6 TB drive have? It has the same 26.1 mm height as the 4 TB Surveillance HDD, but that drive weighs 610 grams whereas
the 6 TB Enterprise Capacity drive weighs 780 grams. We believe this points to an extra platter, making five platters in all.
Seagate says its new drives can be used for:
high-capacity RAID storage
mainstream enterprise external storage arrays (SAN, NAS, DAS)
cloud data centres—replicated bulk data storage
enterprise backup and restore—D2D virtual tape
A 50 percent jump from 4 TB to 6 TB is a lovely increase in storage capacity. Overall, 2.5-inch drives should surely be able to reach 3 TB
capacities soon with this technology.
What about storage array capacity? A rackful of 3.5-inch 4 TB drives could get its capacity increased by 50 percent. Think about the 2.8 PB BOSS
rack we wrote about recently, the one Scality is using for its RING object storage using 4 TB Kinetic drives. It could go up to a 4.2 TB
capacity if Seagate bring out 6TB Kinetic drives.
And if Seagate can bring out 6 TB PMR drives without using helium-filled enclosures or shingling, then surely Western Digital and Toshiba can do
so as well.
We can expect a wave of 6 TB drive upgrades to work its way through the ranks of storage array suppliers in the next few months as WD and Toshiba announce
their 6 TB drives and their OEM qualifications get under way.
But all this comes at a price. RAID rebuilds will take longer. We'll keep you posted on these and other developments.
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