Hardware manufacturer Fujitsu is ramping up its efforts with open source operating system Linux for its servers, beginning with its Intel-based Primergy range.
The Fujitsu Group has signed a global deal with Linux distributor Red Hat to deliver mission-critical 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 signed by Fujitsu Siemens will see SuSE Enterprise Server Linux optimised for its Intel-based Primergy server range.
An entry-level server can use just one processor, making it a low cost option, with the ability to extend it to a 16-way system.
The system will be priced on the basis of server capacity, said Reger. Costs will include a measurement of the number of processors within the server. A single processor server will ship for around £200.
Cost pressures are forcing many businesses to examine whether they could benefit from switching to Linux, according to Tony Lock, senior analyst at market watchers 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 said.
But Lock warned companies that having Linux optimised for servers "would matter little" if their applications could not run on it.
Some large vendors like Oracle and SAP have spent considerable effort tuning software for Linux. Microsoft has, unsurprisingly, been reluctant to follow this particular lead.
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.
"This is about building our portfolio of available platforms: mainframes, servers, Linux, Windows. Whatever is the best choice for them," said Reger.
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