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Stratus Cuts Prices on Fault-Tolerant Windows Servers

Stratus Technologies, which makes fault-tolerant Windows servers, cut list prices for its top-of-the-line, four-way-capable SMP systems last week. The computer maker expects the price-reduction strategy will bring it more share in a growing market for high-availability Windows systems.

When Stratus rolled out the industry's first four-way SMP fault-tolerant Windows server last September, the base price for a one-processor version was about $63,000. That price was cut 6 percent to about $59,000 last week. Stratus dropped the price for a fully-configured system with four logical Intel Xeon MP processors and Windows 2000 Advanced Server with 25 CALs by 12 percent from $133,430 to $117,430.

Those prices apply to Stratus' Dual Modular Redundancy (DMR) systems. Stratus partly achieves 99.999 percent or better uptime by duplicating processors and memory in its systems. A Stratus system with four-way SMP, for example, actually contains eight physical processors. Stratus also offers Triple Modular Redundancy (TMR), which has three physical processors and memory cards for each logical processor or memory card in an SMP configuration, for a small subset of its customers.

Prices for some system packages and upgrades fell by larger percentages ranging up to 20 percent. The steepest percentage price cut came for customers upgrading from a two-way TMR Stratus ftServer 5200 to a four-way TMR Stratus ftServer 6500. The upgrade price dropped from $120,000 to $96,000.

Stratus intends for its price cuts to help it take advantage of growth in the high-availability segment of the server market. Market research analysts at IDC predict that the segment will grow at a 13 percent compound annual growth rate, which is twice as fast as the total server market. The Windows segment of the high-availability market is growing at 39 percent CAGR from 9 percent of the total to an expected 28 percent by 2006, according to IDC.

While the servers run unmodified versions of Windows, Stratus does need to do some software engineering in the Hardware Abstraction Layer and the BIOS that will delay support for the recently released Windows Server 2003 until late summer, a company official said. Until that time customers will have the option of buying Windows Server 2003 and exercising downgrade rights to run Windows 2000 Advanced Server on the systems.

About the Author

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