WHITE PAPER
New Fujitsu High-End Dual-Core Itanium 2-Based
PRIMEQUEST Servers Offer Mission-Critical
Hosting for Linux and Windows Applications
July 2006
PREPARED FOR
Executive Summary
Fujitsu
In July 2006, Fujitsu announced three new, mission-critical enterprise servers
based on Dual-Core Intel Itanium 2 processor (Montecito). PRIMEQUEST Models
520 (8 CPUs, 16 cores), 540 (16 CPUs, 32 cores), and 580 (32 CPUs, 64 cores)
run both the Linux and Windows operating systems. Offered by Fujitsu as its
mission-critical line of Intel-based servers, these high-end platforms target
customers who seek a highly reliable, enterprise-class server that benefits from the
economies of industry-standard hardware and software. The Models 520, 540, and
580 complement and advance Fujitsu’s earlier PRIMEQUEST offerings – the
Itanium Madison-based Models 420, 440, and 480 (single-core CPU designs with 8,
16, and 32 microprocessors respectively).
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Executive Summary ..................................... 1
Introduction................................................... 2
Which Operating Systems Are
Accommodated? .......................................... 3
Still More Operating System Capability .............. 4
Fujitsu’s Linux Work
with the Open Source Community ............. 4
Red Hat’s diskdump and More ........................... 4
Enhancements in Red Hat and Novell SUSE..... 5
The IDEAS Bottom Line ............................... 7
Endnotes ....................................................... 8
TO DIG DEEPER
This white paper prepared by Ideas
International (IDEAS) offers an in-depth
examination of the operating system
offerings available on Fujitsu’s recently
introduced PRIMEQUEST servers based
on the Dual-Core Intel Itanium 2 processor.
Three companion white papers provide
similar detail on: high availability, system
architecture, and system management. An
overview white paper provides a summary
of the capabilities of the PRIMEQUEST
offerings. For additional details, see
http://www.fujitsu.com/global/.
What differentiates Fujitsu’s PRIMEQUEST servers from other IPF-based platforms
is the careful attention paid to mission-critical design. Fujitsu has leveraged its
proven mainframe and PRIMEPOWER design experience (for the Solaris operating
system and the SPARC microprocessor) to create an Itanium-based family that
satisfies customer needs to operate mission-critical workloads on industry-standard
servers.
At their general availability slated for the end of September 2006, the
PRIMEQUEST Series 500 Servers (Models 520, 540, and 580) are scheduled to
support:
» Red Hat Enterprise Linux Version 4 (RHEL4). Updates 4 and 5 will follow soon
after, as well as RHEL5 (when Red Hat makes it available).
» SUSE Linux Enterprise Server Version 9 (SLES9), and SLES10 when it becomes
available (depending on Novell).
» Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition for Itanium (up to 8 CPUs/16 cores and
256 GB maximum memory) with SP2 when it becomes available in early 2007
(depending on Microsoft).
» Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition for Itanium (up to 32 CPUs/64 cores
and 2 TB maximum memory) with SP2 when it becomes available in early 2007
(depending on Microsoft).
Future operating system upgrades and Service Pack versions might contain
specific enhancements to optimize PRIMEQUEST server operation, but they would
ultimately be part of the generic operating system distribution. In general,
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New Fujitsu High-End Dual-Core Itanium 2-Based PRIMEQUEST Servers Offer Mission-Critical Hosting for Linux and Windows Applications
VERTICAL SECTORS AND ISVS
PRIMEQUEST Series 500 Servers will be
distributed worldwide. A consequence of
this wide distribution is the need to identify the vertical application sectors that will
be addressed on a regional basis. However, in general, finance, telecommunications, manufacturing, and government are
the key, targeted vertical sectors.
Fujitsu is negotiating, or has completed
negotiations, with key ISVs in the application subsets of these sectors. Fujitsu is
also working with ISVs that provide broadbased horizontal business application capability in ERM, CRM, and SCM (e.g.,
MySAP). Finally, Fujitsu is working to
supply industry-standard databases, middleware, and tools for the PRIMEQUEST
server environment.
Key firms discussing, working on, or
who have completed product porting to
PRIMEQUEST include BEA, BMC, CA,
EMC, HP, IBM, SAP, SAS, Symantec/
VERITAS, VMware, Microsoft, and Oracle.
Fujitsu is also porting many of its products
that are popular in Asia-Pacific to
PRIMEQUEST servers sold in this region.
These products include the Symfoware
database, Interstage middleware for business consolidation, and Systemwalker
system management software.
It is also important to note that PRIMEQUEST servers will accommodate a wide
variety of hardware components for disk,
tape, networks, etc.
Finally, Fujitsu belongs to, and is quite
active in, the Itanium Solutions Alliance
(ISA) with other major vendors in the
Itanium space. ISA is dedicated to the
development of the Itanium ecosystem.
July 2006
PRIMEQUEST Series 500 servers will host the Enterprise versions of the
respective distributions at the outset, with any specific extensions (e.g., from
Fujitsu) added later.
Going forward, PRIMEQUEST servers will offer unique Fujitsu-originated
enhancements to the Linux and Windows operating systems. Where possible, these
extensions will be made available to the general community. For example,
PRIMEQUEST servers will support the Microsoft Vista (formerly Longhorn)
operating system when it becomes available. Vista may contain specific
enhancements supporting PRIMEQUEST, but they will be part of the generic set of
features of Windows Server. Similarly, Fujitsu is working with the Open Source
Development Labs (OSDL) on enhancements to Linux, either directly or through
Red Hat and Novell, which will improve all Linux distributions in the areas of
scalability; reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS); dynamic
reconfiguration; virtualization; partitions (XPARs); and more.
This white paper describes the operating system offerings available on
PRIMEQUEST servers, as well as proposed improvements. Companion white
papers focus on other PRIMEQUEST attributes, such as system architecture
design, high availability features, and system management capabilities. A
“PRIMEQUEST Overview” white paper is also available.
Introduction
Working in collaboration with Intel, Microsoft, Red Hat, and Novell, Fujitsu
developed, and now offers, its PRIMEQUEST Model 520 (8 CPUs, 16 cores), 540
(16 CPUS, 32 cores), and 580 (32 CPUs, 64 cores) servers based on the Dual-Core
Intel Itanium 2 processor (Montecito). These servers not only run the latest Itanium
2 version, but they will also run the Itanium Montvale microprocessor when it
becomes available sometime in 2007. In addition, they are capable of SMP or
scale-out operation with multiple partitions and domains.
PRIMEQUEST servers are able to run high-end applications on the two operating
systems (Windows and Linux) that, according to most industry analysts, will
dominate in the coming years with over 60% of the operating system market.
PRIMEQUEST servers currently operate with RHEL4 (with support for Updates 4
and 5 when they become available later in 2006 or 2007), and will support RHEL5
once it becomes available in 2007. They also operate with SLES9, and will run
SLES10 when it becomes available later in 2006. Finally, the new PRIMEQUEST
servers run Windows Enterprise Edition 2003 as well as Windows 2003 Datacenter
Edition. They will operate under the Vista (formerly Longhorn) operating system
when it becomes available in 2007. Upgrades and service packs for all the Linux
and Windows systems will be incorporated as they become available.
Completing the Fujitsu server product line, the PRIMEQUEST servers sit alongside
the PRIMEPOWER and PRIMERGY offerings. PRIMEPOWER accommodates UNIX
(Solaris on SPARC microprocessors) while PRIMERGY accommodates industrystandard 32-bit/64-bit (EM64T) Intel processors and Windows/Linux.
PRIMEQUEST servers, built with the benefit of Fujitsu’s long mainframe, vector
processor, and UNIX heritage, will directly compete in the worldwide marketplace
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White Paper |  2006 Ideas International, Inc.
July 2006
New Fujitsu High-End Dual-Core Itanium 2-Based PRIMEQUEST Servers Offer Mission-Critical Hosting for Linux and Windows Applications
with machines from Bull, HP, IBM, SGI, NEC, Sun, and Unisys. Applications
targeted include OLTP, decision support/data warehouse, legacy modernization,
and server/database consolidation. Both SMP and cluster configurations can be
used as appropriate.
Which Operating Systems Are Accommodated?
At their general availability slated for the end of September 2006, the
PRIMEQUEST Series 500 Servers (Models 520, 540, and 580) are scheduled to
support:
» Red Hat Enterprise Linux Version 4 (RHEL4). Updates 4 and 5 will follow soon
after, as well as RHEL5 (when Red Hat makes it available).
» SUSE Linux Enterprise Server Version 9 (SLES9), as well as SLES10 when it
becomes available (depending on Novell).
» Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition for Itanium (up to 8 CPUs/16 cores and
256 GB maximum memory), with SP2 when it becomes available in early 2007
(depending on Microsoft).
» Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition for Itanium (up to 32 CPUs/64 cores
and 2 TB maximum memory), with SP2 when it becomes available in early 2007
(depending on Microsoft).
Support for Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition and Web Edition is not
available, as Microsoft does not offer these Windows versions for Itanium.
Future Linux upgrades and Windows Service Pack versions may contain specific
enhancements to optimize PRIMEQUEST server operation, but they will ultimately
be part of the generic Linux or Windows Server distribution. PRIMEQUEST servers
will host the Enterprise versions of the respective operating system distributions at
the outset. Specific extensions may be added later.
Going forward, PRIMEQUEST Series 500 computers will offer unique Fujitsuoriginated enhancements to the Linux and Windows operating systems. Where
possible, these extensions will be made available to the general community. For
example, PRIMEQUEST servers will support the Microsoft Vista (formerly
Longhorn) operating system when it becomes available. Vista may contain specific
enhancements supporting PRIMEQUEST systems, but these enhancements –
which are under study by both Microsoft and Fujitsu – will be part of the generic
Windows feature set. Similarly, Fujitsu is working with the Open Source
Development Labs (OSDL) on enhancements to Linux, either directly, or through
Red Hat and Novell, which will improve all Linux distributions.
The IA-32 Emulation Layer in Itanium (no longer in Itanium hardware) is now
supported in software on Windows 2003, as well as on RHEL4 and SLES9. As a
result, IA-32 applications will run on PRIMEQUEST servers without
modification.However, the Emulation Layer will typically cause performance
degradations, so this capability is not expected to be widely used.
PRIMEQUEST Series 500 systems will be Microsoft-certified for both standalone
and cluster configurations of Windows Server 2003 Datacenter and Enterprise
White Paper |  2006 Ideas International, Inc.
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New Fujitsu High-End Dual-Core Itanium 2-Based PRIMEQUEST Servers Offer Mission-Critical Hosting for Linux and Windows Applications
July 2006
Editions. In fact, Microsoft is in the process of changing its certification system and
PRIMEQUEST will have a unified Microsoft certification for both the Datacenter and
Enterprise configurations. Fujitsu’s PRIMECLUSTER cluster software will also
function on PRIMEQUEST systems for Linux, with future support planned for
Windows.
Of course, to make the PRIMEQUEST platform attractive to customers, operating
system capability is a necessary but not sufficient condition. ISV and IHV support is
critical. The sidebar “Vertical Sectors and ISVs” provides an overview of Fujitsu’s
continuing efforts in this area.
Still More Operating System Capability
Another PRIMEQUEST operating system capability that will be attractive to
customers is the server’s ability to mix and match operating systems in different
partitions. For example, Linux can run on a logical partition that crosses two system
boards while Windows can run on a separate system board in another partition.
Moreover, different Linux versions can run in different partitions for production and
testing purposes. However, these Linux versions must be capable of providing the
features and functions that PRIMEQUEST servers require. In fact, PRIMEQUEST
servers need the Linux 2.6 kernel (or higher) to do their job. This kernel level
possesses the necessary scalability enhancements for large multiprocessor
servers.
The Linux 2.4 kernel will not be sufficient for a machine as powerful as
PRIMEQUEST. For example, respectively (2.6 kernel compared to 2.4 kernel) 32
CPUs can be handled compared to 8, 2 TB of real memory can be used compared
to 64 GB maximum, 16 TB of virtual address space is possible compared to 4 GB,
and tens of thousands of devices can be accommodated compared to 256.
Moreover, kernel 2.6 also has a logical volume manager, larger file system
capabilities, and better file I/O.
Fujitsu’s Linux Work with the Open Source Community
Fujitsu is working with Red Hat, Novell, and the OSDL to improve Linux’s reliability,
resilience, dynamic reconfiguration capabilities, virtualization capabilities, and
scalability. Hence, future Linux distributions and associated Linux software might
ultimately include Fujitsu contributions that will enhance the PRIMEQUEST server
environment and its capabilities in the areas listed.
Red Hat’s diskdump and More
Consider, for example, the issue of system dump functions. Upon a failure, system
hang, or kernel panic, a system dump can provide useful information from
PRIMEQUEST memory to determine the failure cause and ensure that it does not
recur. For Red Hat Linux, diskdump is the standard function to accomplish this
dump and transfer the dump information to a hard drive.
Red Hat also offers the standard netdump function, which dumps errors during
operation into a dump server by means of a network connection. netdump is often
found in Linux high-performance computing applications.
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White Paper |  2006 Ideas International, Inc.
July 2006
New Fujitsu High-End Dual-Core Itanium 2-Based PRIMEQUEST Servers Offer Mission-Critical Hosting for Linux and Windows Applications
Fujitsu has developed the sadump function to further enhance the diskdump
capabilities. sadump collects errors that diskdump does not address and is derived
from Fujitsu’s mainframe experience. These errors include failures in diskdump
collecting and boot-up errors. In short, sadump collects all the errors starting from
when the operating system begins to boot. Fujitsu currently delivers sadump for
PRIMEQUEST systems on a CD-ROM separate from the Linux distribution.
Enhancements in Red Hat and Novell SUSE
Fujitsu and other vendors provide advice and counsel to the open source
community. In addition, they provide software developers and engineers that work
with the community to develop Linux enhancements and related open source
software. Fujitsu puts forth a well-organized, extensive effort in this area with
hundreds of Fujitsu software developers contributing to improving Linux reliability,
performance, and robustness.
Because of these community efforts, a number of new features are included in both
the RHEL4 and SLES9 Linux operating systems (both of which are based on the
Linux 2.6 kernel). Current expectations have it that RHEL5 will be available in the
first quarter of 2007 while SLES10 will appear in late 2006.
RHEL4 and SLES9 have certain differences as far as new features are concerned
and the features may or may not be available for PRIMEQUEST servers depending
on which Linux distribution or update version is used. Some new features highlights
in the Linux 2.6 kernel, used by PRIMEQUEST Series 500 servers, include:
Dump Capabilities for Troubleshooting. diskdump (discussed above) in RHEL4, and
LKCD (Linux Kernel Core Dump), its SLES9 counterpart, are available. As noted
above, Fujitsu is also making its mainframe-like sadump facility available for
PRIMEQUEST servers as it has more extensive dump capabilities. Fujitsu is also
offering sadump to the Linux community. In addition, the open source Flight
Recorder facility is available in SLES9. This facility allows continuous logging to a
cyclic buffer so that dumps may be more easily analyzed.
Quick High Availability Cluster Failover. New capabilities for quick cluster failover
are available in both RHEL4 and SLES9. These capabilities include quick failover
triggering when there is a netdump (although as noted above, SLES9 does not
implement netdump) to alert the clustering software that a node failure has
occurred. This capability results in faster transfer of functions to another cluster
node.
Two more capabilities (in both distributions) are notification of a node failure just
before the panic process, and notification of an application failure. These
capabilities are accomplished via a hook much as they are done in the Fujitsu
PRIMEPOWER servers for Solaris.
Both distributions also have the ability to halt a failing node by way of notification
from a living node. This capability was developed for the PRIMEQUEST
architecture to improve cluster integrity and has been contributed to the Linux
community.
White Paper |  2006 Ideas International, Inc.
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New Fujitsu High-End Dual-Core Itanium 2-Based PRIMEQUEST Servers Offer Mission-Critical Hosting for Linux and Windows Applications
July 2006
Scalability. There are several new capabilities in both Linux distributions that
enable increased system scalability. For example, libraries have been added to the
Linux 2.6 kernel that allow large numbers of system devices to be accommodated.
PRIMEQUEST servers and other large Linux systems can use hundreds of system
devices.
In addition, the Linux glibc function now allows thread-safe operation. glibc is the
industry-standard open software implementation of the standard C library for Linux.
System scalability benefits since a program can now safely dispatch multiple
threads without being concerned about resource interaction/contention between
threads. Furthermore, the system enjoys improved stability and will not fail under
heavy thread operations.
Moreover, there is now device name consistency in both Linux distributions. Such
consistency is required in an environment such as PRIMEQUEST that will allow
device addition, removal, and hot swapping. Now, instead of obscure major/minor
device mapping that can change from boot to boot, devices can be identified by a
consistent name for consistent reference.
Other Enhancements. Other enhancements include those in the area of
manageability such as detailed resource accounting for permanently running
system processes. For further manageability, RHEL4 and SLES9 include sar and
xxstat for reporting kernel statistics.
Future enhancements will further improve kernel-based resource management so
that long-running applications services and system resources are accounted for in
commercial business environments.
Important Future Enhancements. Currently, Linux lacks dynamic reconfiguration
capabilities. This is a difficult and contentious issue in the open source community
with many different viewpoints as to how it is best addressed.
Fujitsu and other vendors are working together to address dynamic reconfiguration
in Linux, which is most important for hot swap, concurrent maintenance, and
partition adjustment without interrupting customer application services. Dynamic
reconfiguration is also discussed in the companion High Availability and System
Architecture white papers. 1
Dynamic reconfiguration is expected to be available in the Windows Vista edition.
Fujitsu provides inputs to Microsoft on this subject.
Best Case Dynamic Reconfiguration Developments. Current expectations (which
are highly subject to change based on the delivery schedules of the operating
system vendors and are presented here only as a “best case” consideration) would
have the following future dynamic reconfiguration capabilities for PRIMEQUEST
Series 500 servers:
» PCI-X Device Hot Add/Remove
» PCI-EX Device Hot Add/Remove
» System Board Hot Add
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White Paper |  2006 Ideas International, Inc.
July 2006
New Fujitsu High-End Dual-Core Itanium 2-Based PRIMEQUEST Servers Offer Mission-Critical Hosting for Linux and Windows Applications
Windows and Linux run well
on PRIMEQUEST Series 500
servers, and even more
operating system capability
is on the way that leverages
PRIMEQUEST’s mainframelike features.
» System Board Hot Remove
» I/O Unit Hot Add/Remove
Best Case Virtualization Developments. Current expectations (which are highly
subject to change based on the delivery schedules of the operating system vendors
and are presented here only as a “best case” consideration) would have the
following future virtualization capabilities for PRIMEQUEST Series 500 servers.
» PRIMEQUEST virtualization for Linux will be based on open source Xen software
included in SLES10 and RHEL5. Fujitsu will develop certain additional features
needed for PRIMEQUEST. Those features developed for mission-critical
operations will be turned over to the Xen/open source community, as will features
developed for performance. Fujitsu-developed management features and
PRIMEQUEST-specific code will not be turned over to the Xen/open source
community.
» Hypervisor-based, the PRIMEQUEST Series 500 server virtualization capability
will require the use of Intel Virtual Machine Assist hardware for Itanium. The host
operating system will be either RHEL5 or SLES10. The guest operating systems
can be RHEL4 or RHEL5, SLES9 or SLES10, and either the Windows 2003
Enterprise or Datacenter Editions. All of these are forthcoming year 2007
capabilities.
The IDEAS Bottom Line
PRIMEQUEST is a high-end, mission-critical server line based on the Intel 64-bit,
Itanium 2 processor family (first Madison, now Montecito, and Montvale when it
becomes available) dedicated solely to Windows (including future versions such as
Vista) and the two major Linux distributions (including future versions such as
RHEL5 and beyond, and SLES10 and beyond). The PRIMEQUEST server offering
allows a diverse number of vertical industries and applications to enjoy the services
of industry-standard hardware (Intel) and operating system (Windows and Linux)
software running on mission-critical hardware. These industries will also benefit
from the complete PRIMEQUEST ecosystem that Fujitsu is developing.
Windows and Linux can be used, unmodified, in PRIMEQUEST servers. However,
Fujitsu is working closely with both Microsoft and the open source community to
create additional features that will make these operating systems even more
functional for PRIMEQUEST servers and other computer systems.
On the Windows side, for example, Fujitsu is working with Microsoft to help
incorporate dynamic reconfiguration capabilities into Vista, which will run on
PRIMEQUEST servers.
As for Linux, Fujitsu is working with the OSDL, Red Hat, and Novell SUSE to add
features to their respective Linux distributions and the Linux community at large.
These features will address dump capabilities, high availability clusters, scalability,
RAS, resource management, dynamic reconfiguration, and virtualization. Some
features in these areas are now available in RHEL4 and SLES9 (with Linux kernel
2.6). Others will be available in RHEL5 and SLES10.
White Paper |  2006 Ideas International, Inc.
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New Fujitsu High-End Dual-Core Itanium 2-Based PRIMEQUEST Servers Offer Mission-Critical Hosting for Linux and Windows Applications
July 2006
PRIMEQUEST servers stand out in the high-end, mission-critical server
environment. Its mainframe-like features and functions (e.g., for high availability
and system management), its high level of performance, its dedication to run
Windows and Linux on Itanium, its unique architecture, its robust mechanical
design and small footprint, its partitioning capabilities, and more, provide
PRIMEQUEST servers with a distinctive position and value proposition for users.
Fujitsu expects PRIMEQUEST servers to provide superior cost-of-ownership and
return-on-investment figures compared to other vendor’s Itanium 2-based offerings.
Such figures, combined with the PRIMEQUEST server features and functions
discussed in this white paper series, will ensure interest in PRIMEQUEST servers
from customers worldwide.
Endnotes
1
See the following companion white papers:
» “New Fujitsu High-End Dual-Core Intel Itanium 2-Based PRIMEQUEST Servers Offer the Utmost in
High Availability,” Ideas International, July 2006
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» PRIMEQUEST System Architecture,” Ideas International, July 2006
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