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Stratus Technologies releases two fault-tolerant products

Matthew A. DeBellis

Stratus Technologies this week announced two new releases for its fault-tolerant platform for Microsoft Windows.

The two products, ftServer 6500 and ftServer 5240, are Stratus' latest efforts in the fault-tolerant server market for Windows. Stratus competes with Microsoft's Cluster Service and the Assured Availability Server by Marathon Technologies of Boxborough, Mass.

Stratus' new products, fully integrated systems with built-in hardware redundancy, are designed to prevent system failures, which cause headaches for IT pros. The 6500 and 5240 support Windows 2000 Advanced Server OS.

When a server fails, clustering software keeps Windows systems running, but sometimes the recovery can take several minutes, said Larry Sherman, Stratus director of Technical Marketing.

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Stratus, a 22-year-old Maynard, Mass.-based company, first entered the fault-tolerant market for Windows in June 2001. In 14 months, Stratus has recruited 700 Windows customers, most in North America and Asia.

Stratus previously only served the Unix and HP-UX markets, along with a proprietary operating system called VOS, virtual operating system. Its fault-tolerant systems are for those Oses are for folks with fairly deep pockets -- prices can reach $1 million -- whereas Stratus' Windows products start at about $50,000.

"We wanted to get into a larger market with lower costs," Sherman said.

Stratus also moved into the Windows market because Microsoft has strengthened its OS.

"Windows has earned its stripes as a reliable operating system," said Ken Donoghue, Stratus director of public relations.

The ftServer 6500 is offered as a one, two or four-way SMP server and is suitable for large, international organizations with intensive database work. The 6500 boasts an Intel 1.6 GHz Xeon Processor MP with 1MB iL3 cache; it has more memory, cache, storage, and processors than the previous 5200 series. A one-way 6500 server starts at $65,000.

The ftServer 5240 is offered as a one or two-way SMP server and is suitable for regional organizations, Sherman said. The system ensures 99.999% uptime performance, Stratus claims. The 5240 is built on an Intel Xeon 2.4 GHz processor with 512KB iL2 cache and hyper-threading. A one-way 5240 starts at $49,500.

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