Fujitsu is ramping up its efforts with Linux for its servers, which could account for a quarter of the hardware manufacturer's business by 2006.
The Fujitsu Group has signed a global deal with Linux distributor Red Hat to deliver high-end systems. Its European hardware arm, Fujitsu Siemens, has signed a similar deal with rival Linux developer SuSE.
The Linux releases will be optimised to run on mainframes, servers and desktop machines. But it is in the server market that Fujitsu will be looking to make early gains.
"I expect Linux to account for a quarter of the enterprise business by 2006," said Joseph Reger, chief technology officer at Fujitsu Siemens.
The deal will allow resellers to offer SuSE Enterprise Server Linux on the Intel-based Primergy server range.
"This will be attractive to our channel partners looking to start with smaller implementations, but with the ability to move to more complicated systems," said Reger.
Cost pressures were forcing many businesses to examine whether they could benefit from switching to Linux, according to Tony Lock, senior analyst at market watcher Bloor Research.
"The biggest area of interest and of customers is for Linux running on Intel chips, where cost savings are potentially greatest. This makes it a boat that Fujitsu dared not miss out on," he explained.
With many Fujitsu partners having experience in developing Unix systems, the switch to Linux was "not that great", he added.
SuSE also launched its own partner programme earlier this year to provide sales and technical training, said Petra Heinrich, vice president of partners and sales at SuSE.
As well as Intel-based servers, Fujitsu will use its partnerships with Red Hat and SuSE to deliver Linux running on mainframes, 32- and 64-bit systems, as well as Risc and Sparc processors.
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