Fujitsu, which recently inked a deal with Sun to collaborate on Sparc/Solaris-based Unix servers, is expanding its Intel product portfolio with a two-processor Itanium 2 system.

The Primergy RXI300, aimed at scientific and technical users looking for big power in a small package, joins the Primergy RXI600 in Fujitsu’s line-up of 64-bit Intel-based systems. Fujitsu earlier this year began shipping the four-processor Itanium 2-based RX1600, designed for databases, business intelligence and data warehousing.

The RXI300 is a 2U (3.5-inch-high), two-processor system that can run at speeds of 1.4GHz or 1.6GHz with a 3MB Level 3 cache or at 1.5GHz with a 6MB Level 3 cache. According to Fujitsu UK product manager James Leach, it is available now with a starting price of £5,499 for a one-processor, 1.4GHz configuration.

Fujitsu executives say the performance capabilities of the RXI300 will provide big boosts to commercial applications, enabling the server to run those applications faster and more efficiently. Among the high-performance features in the server are an integrated RAID-1 capability that lets customers mirror hard drives for fault tolerance and data protection, three PCI-X slots and two Gigabit Ethernet ports.

Fujitsu executives say they are aiming to tap into an expanding Itanium market, which analysts say has begun to pick up. A recent survey of 129 large North American firms by Forrester Research found that half of the respondents who don’t yet run Itanium-based servers in their data centres have plans to do so. Almost all firms already running Itanium-based systems plan to expand their use of Itanium, according to the survey.

The upcoming release of a 64-bit version of Microsoft Windows Server 2003, along with existing 64-bit versions of Linux from SuSE and Red Hat will help fuel Itanium growth, analysts say.