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Stratus Unveils Denser, Modular Fault-Tolerant Server

Stratus Technologies this month unveiled its next generation of entry-level fault-tolerant servers for Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003.

The new line is called the Stratus ftServer 3300, and it replaces the Stratus ftServer 3200. Engineering changes include a much more dense chassis, a modular design that makes it easier for customers to replace or upgrade components and faster processors.

Stratus makes servers that carry redundant processors, memory and I/O that operate in lockstep, allowing the system to carry forward individual transactions uninterrupted even when a critical system component fails.

The 3200 and 3300 are one- and two-way SMP capable, meaning they include two or four processors. Stratus' higher-end lines, the ftServer 5240 and the ftServer 6500, are two-way SMP and four-way SMP capable, respectively. Those more expensive, higher-end offerings also offer higher availability options, including an option to have three physical processors for each logical processor, giving users a backup for the backup.

Stratus has managed to cut its rack consumption in half from the 3200 to the 3300, with the new model crunching all those redundant components into 4U of space.

The computermaker is also filling the boxes with Intel Xeon 2.4-GHz processors that support Hyper-Threading. That means in addition to a huge boost in raw processing power from the 3200, the systems can also take advantage of Intel's Hyper-Threading, which allows one processor to behave as two processors for up to a 30 percent performance gain on certain applications. Additionally, the servers have gone from a 100-MHz front-side bus to a 400-MHz front-side bus, in line with Intel's chips.

While Stratus originally provided customer-replaceable units (CRUs) in its first generation of Windows 2000 fault-tolerant servers to make it possible for customers to replace or upgrade system components, the process is made easier in the ftServer 3300 generation with the introduction of four 1U modules that plug into a common back plane. Two of the modules contain processors and the other two modules contain I/O. Stratus has plans to extend the modular approach to its higher-end product lines in the future.

Other features include support for up to 3 GB of RAM, 6 PCI slots, embedded Gigabit and 10/100 Ethernet and Ultra3 SCSI disk. The server is also available in a pedestal configuration.

Stratus positions its ftServer 3300 servers as priced comparably with a two-node cluster with 1/50th the amount of unplanned downtime.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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