Fujitsu OEMs NetApp flash and hybrid arrays

Update: Fujitsu questions answers added 3 July 2020.

Fujitsu has switched up from reselling NetApp arrays to OEMing them. The ETERNUS AF all flash and DX hybrid arrays now get NetApp-based entry and mid-rage models.

In a terse press release, Fujitsu provides few details about its four new entry and mid-range ETERNUS systems – AB, AX, HB and HX beyond saying they are “ideal for use in mission-critical systems, HPC, virtualised systems and file servers”.

Kenichi Sakai, head of Fujitsu’s infrastructure system business unit, provided a canned quote: “We see this enhanced strategic partnership with NetApp as a critical step in supporting digital transformation by enabling customers to effectively manage and leverage their data.”

The AX and HX are intended for virtualized systems and file servers, while the AB and HB systems are for mission-critical databases and HPC. They scale to 24 storage nodes and 26PB of capacity, with data stored in on-premises or sent to the public cloud.

Fujitsu intends to introduce combined Fujitsu and NetApp solutions for AI, hybrid cloud and HPC by the end of 2020. For example Fujitsu servers and NetApp arrays will be used for an AI system and Fujitsu high performance scalable file systems and servers will combine with NetApp storage for HPC installations.

The company is also developing a hybrid cloud system using NetApp Cloud Data Services that manages private and public cloud environments in the data centre with a single storage operating system.


ETERNUS is Fujitsu’s storage brand and covers five product lines.

  • DX Series – hybrid – high-end (DX60, DX100, DX200, DX500, DX600, DX900, DXB900)
  • AF Series – all-flash – high-end (AF150, AF250, AF650)
  • CD10000 Reference Architecture
  • DSP – OEM’d Datera product

Until now Fujitsu also resold NetApp FAS, SolidFire, and AFF Series (hybrid/all-flash) arrays. It has been reselling NetApp AFF and FAS series systems for quite a while.

New products

An ETERNUS product table includes the four new systems;

Our understanding, based on the capacity levels, is that the incoming AB and AX replace entry and midrange AF models, and the HB and HX replace DX entry and mid-range models.

in its announcement Fujitsu says the AB and HB systems use NVMe and InfiniBand – but their spec sheets say different. The AB2100 is a SAS SSD system classed as NVMe-ready but InfiniBand is not mentioned. Fujitsu’s table says the AB supports 120 drives but the AB2100 spec sheet says 96 are supported.

Also the HB1100 is a hybrid flash/disk system with no NVMe and no InfiniBand. Something got lost in translation or maybe more systems are in the offing.

A Fujitsu statement said: “These are general statements on the press release for the product line of AB and HB. It applies though not to all single systems. Also, the correct number of drives supported by AB2100 is 96, which is officially stated in the press release.”

There are AX100 and AX2100 products and an HX2100 system.

Fujitsu does not say if it is possible to upgrade from AB to AX to AF, or from HB to HX to DX. We suspect any upgrades would be disruptive and involve forklift trucks.

A Fujitsu statement said: “Depending on regional and local requirements, Fujitsu will closely collaborate with its customers defining the ideal way forward. This can include a transition from several system families to another … As such, Fujitsu will follow a very customer-centric case-by-case determination what’s the best way forward. Supportive programs will be launched depending on local requirements in the coming future.”

Fujitsu has been asked to clarify these various points and we’ll update his article when we hear back.

ETERNUS AB/HB will rollout worldwide, starting in Japan and Europe. ETERNUS AX/HX is available in Japan, with future availability pencilled for regions outside of Europe, curiously.

Fujitsu said: “Our new FUJITSU Storage ETERNUS AX / FUJITSU Storage ETERNUS HX systems and will be available in Japan only. These systems will be sold in Europe (including UK, Germany and all other regions/countries of operation) under the NetApp brand, known as NetApp AFF and NetApp FAS system families.”

So ETERNUS AX is NetApp’s AFF product and ETERNUS HX is NetApp’s FAS product.

No pricing information was supplied at time of publication.