I once worked for a major Japanese high tech company in the US and have a good understanding of how Japanese companies tend to work in this country. With a few exceptions, they seem only to gather information to feed to their Tokyo headquarters. Fujitsu has been one of the exceptions. They get involved in local events and throw several conferences of their own.
In a recent Critical Facilities Roundtable Technology Group meeting, two speakers from Fujitsu gave interesting talks. The first gave Fujitsu’s take on cloud computing and was presented by Richard McCormack, SVP, Enterprise Systems, Fujitsu America. Most data center meetings are oriented towards facilities people, so a topic like this is rare. Richard was a good presenter and gave a lot of background on the thinking behind Fujitsu’s cloud computing strategies.
Before getting into the meat of the presentation, Richard shared some interesting data. An IDC list of the world’s largest IT services companies ranks Fujitsu third, with $24B. First is IBM with $56B, second is HP with $35B, fourth is Accenture with $22B, and fifth is CSC with $16B. Also, on IDC’s list of the world’s largest software companies, Fujitsu is ranked ninth.
Richard’s talk was organized to discuss changes happening in the IT industry, including changes in the business climate. He identified four major points of change and drilled down into each area lightly. The last point of change is the cloud, which was the main topic of the meeting in conjunction with their data centers.
Fujitsu’s understanding of how IT has progressed is as follows. It was first computer-centric (mainframes), then network-centric (distributed computing), and finally human-centric (information is all over the place but can be accessed anywhere). Changing IT are the six Cs:
Six Cs changing IT
Richard also said that the business landscape is changing, and he pointed out three changes: (1) the business border is disappearing, (2) a new generation of people is IT savvy, and (3) the consumer fields lead businesses in technologies.
Fujitsu’s overall vision of IT, consisting of people, information, applications, and the cloud, is illustrated in the following figure.
This view is self-explanatory. The cloud runs applications, which generate and/or collect data and convert it into information. That information is fed to people.
A slide explains each part. As for the people piece:
Again, you may have a slightly different take on this, but you do not disagree with the elements listed here.
As for the information piece:
Again, you probably agree with this description of the information piece. One interesting thing here is that Fujitsu develops and markets many products, including servers, storage, and networking gears. For identity management, Fujitsu has a palm reader that detects a unique vein pattern in your palm. Most palm readers read only the palm perimeter. Thus, if a hand is chopped off, as long as the shape of the palm is intact, you can use the chopped-off hand to gain access. However, vein pattern detection rejects the chopped-off hand. Fujitsu uses this palm reader for their data center access control.
More and more data and information are created from many sources. Fujitsu did a survey to find out how secure people feel about storing their data in the cloud. See here. The regional differences are interesting. People in the US care the most about where their data is, followed by Japan and Europe.
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Fujitsu will publish another report on how much people care about sustainability at data centers from the IT perspective. The report states that interest in conserving energy is falling. The number one reason is that there is no easy and effective way to measure power consumption at data centers. It is a sad reality, but turning it around, if there is an easy but effective way to measure power consumption, people will conserve more.
The applications piece is further explained in the following picture.
Finally, the cloud piece is further described as follows.
Richard did not go into detail on each subject. Although you may arrange these items slightly differently from the way Fujitsu did, they must be relevant to you and your operations. For that reason, it makes sense to present a comprehensive view of the four visions: people, information, applications, and the cloud.
Richard completed the explanation of the “Delivering Change” figure with two slides on delivery of services and new technologies.
The rest of the discussion was about Fujitsu’s data centers. In short, they retrofitted their hosting data centers to:
- expand physical space
- increase power density
- increase high availability
- establish Tier III status
The actual change took place from August 2009 to March 2010. I will report on that in the future, along with their use of fuel cells for power.
This was a good presentation, well prepared and professionally delivered. The only complaint I had was the lack of discussion of Big Data. Fujitsu manufactures almost every kind of device and technology that contributes to the creation of a lot of data, such as mobile devices, Web and Internet devices (including servers and PCs), sensors and RFIDs, and automobile-related technologies and products. Also missing was information about analytics. If we receive a huge amount of data, how would we store and analyze it for our advantage? I would like to hear what Fujitsu has to say about that.