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New Stratus server won't put up with downtime

Meredith B. Derby, assistant news editor

Stratus Technologies' new fault-tolerant server promises to give all Windows 2000 Advanced Server operating system applications 24x7 redundancy. In addition to announcing the availability of the server, ftServer3200, Stratus recently unveiled a new reseller program that will give customers more purchasing venues.

Thanks to Stratus' remote support, companies using ftServer 3200 can be confident that their servers will resist failure, said David Flawn, vice president of worldwide business development for Maynard, MA-based Stratus. Each ftServer 3200 is connected to a Stratus remote support center via two redundant network cards that sit in the I/O subsystems. Even if a component has failed, the server continues processing through the redundant cards that are connected with their own modems to an Ethernet.

The support center, which is Microsoft-authorized, receives an alert when an ftServer has experienced a problem. A diagnostic program determines if a replacement hardware component is needed. Replacement parts are very easy to install. Even the FedEx driver who delivers parts could install them, said Flawn.

The new server is a more cost-effective way to ensure high availability than the traditional clustering technologies, Flawn said. The ftServer is also simpler to deploy than a cluster. Clustering requires heavy scripting, for example, and the monitoring of the individual clustered computers can be time consuming. There's no scripting with ftServer.

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With Stratus' support center, monitoring is done by Stratus personnel.

The 24x7 monitoring done by Stratus' support center is a lifesaver for businesses with restricted budgets. For example, Stratus customer Home Depot does not have in-house IT experts who can solve server outage problems. Before using Stratus' products and services, their hardware failures could take their system down for hours.

Another important feature of ftServer 3200 is its root-cause analysis capabilities. The server preserves an image of the server's exact failure point in its memory, whether the motherboard has failed or device drivers have gone bad. The preserved state can then be analyzed by Stratus and the customer. If there's a need, Microsoft will assist with analysis, too, Flawn said. Further, information gathered on why the problem occurred is stored so Stratus can predict and stop a similar issue from happening again.

FtServer starts at $18,000 and can store 216G bytes of data.

Stratus also announced Tuesday the inception of a new Partner Program. Currently Stratus has 60 value-added resellers (VARs), but plans for 200 by year-end. The addition of more VARs, like vendors who sell emergency 911 safety products, was necessary for Stratus to reach niche markets, Flawn said.

This story originally appeared on searchWindowsManageability.


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