Bloomberg News

Fujitsu Aims for Most of $2.6 Billion Supercomputer Orders

October 25, 2011

(Updates with government-plan details in fifth paragraph.)

Oct. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Fujitsu Ltd. seeks to receive most of the 200 billion yen ($2.6 billion) of supercomputer orders targeted by the Japanese government in the next five years and is close to releasing its K supercomputer, the company’s president said.

The machine, which toppled China’s Tianhe-1A as the world’s fastest supercomputer in June, is “more or less market-ready” and Tokyo-based Fujitsu will probably make an announcement about its availability next month, Masami Yamamoto said in an interview at the ITU Telecom World conference in Geneva yesterday. The company is preparing the computer for export as part of the government plan, he said.

“Hopefully, the Japanese government will be very successful in getting various orders from countries around the world, mainly through bilateral alliances,” Yamamoto said. “If everything goes well, most of the 200 billion yen of orders will be coming our way.”

The K supercomputer, equipped with more than 80,000 central-processing units and with a target performance of 10 petaflops, is aimed at government-backed universities and research centers, particularly in emerging markets. A petaflop is a measure of a processing speed and can be expressed as a thousand trillion, or quadrillion, operations per second. Fujitsu had stopped exporting supercomputers for about a decade.

Cloud Services

Japan aims to win orders for infrastructure and information systems such as water processing plants and supercomputers from countries including Saudi Arabia and China as part of its growth strategy announced last year, the country’s trade ministry said in a statement on Oct. 11. An official at the ministry wasn’t available to comment on the target Yamamoto provided.

Fujitsu is preparing the K supercomputer for export by developing a system to help evaluate performance of individual machines, Yamamoto said. The offering can be delivered unit by unit, allowing it to scale its processing power to customer needs, he said.

The company is also counting on rising sales from so-called cloud services, which allow clients to outsource data centers and other computing resources and access them online. Fujitsu predicts such revenue will triple from the current fiscal year to 300 billion yen in the 12 months ending March 31, 2013.

Real-Time Processing

To reach that target, the company has added public cloud services this year in markets including Japan, the U.S., the U.K., Australia, and Germany in addition to offerings tailored for corporate clients. It’s also starting to see interest for its Convergence Services Platform, which can process data in real time and show consumption patterns for the energy and health industries, among others.

Fujitsu shares gained as much as 1.5 percent to 411 yen and closed at 406 yen in Tokyo trading.

Huawei Technologies Co., China’s biggest maker of phone equipment, is also trying to increase its cloud-computing business and is focusing on industries such as health, energy, transport and finance, Ron Raffensperger, the company’s director of cloud computing marketing, said in a separate interview in Geneva.

Huawei, based in Shenzhen, is seeing “a lot of interest” from companies in Southeast Asia, Australia and the Middle East, while European companies are hesitant because of the current economic uncertainty, he said. Governments investing in cloud services also provide an opportunity for Huawei, he said, declining to name specific customers or targets for his unit.

--With assistance from Yoshinori Eki in Tokyo. Editors: Robert Valpuesta, Kenneth Wong.

To contact the reporters on this story: Cornelius Rahn in Frankfurt at crahn2@bloomberg.net; Naoko Fujimura in Tokyo at nfujimura@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net


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