Stratus takes aim at Windows clusters

Stratus takes aim at Windows clusters

Stratus Technologies continues to enhance its line of Windows-based fault-tolerant systems. The company on Monday introduced a faster processing box, the ftServer 4300, which will be capable of supporting online software upgrades or patching.

Today, end users have to power down Stratus servers to make changes to system software and then reboot. Stratus' ftServer W Series Active Upgrade technology, expected to be available in February next year, will eliminate that planned downtime, the company says.

"People used to say one reason why a cluster might be better is that you can fail over to another server in the cluster when making software changes," says Denny Lane, director of product marketing for Stratus. "This overcomes the final potential challenge to our high availability."

Pricing has not yet been released for the technology, which is made possible by the custom-designed chipset in the ftServer W Series 4000 line. Stratus introduced the first in the line, the ftServer 4600, in June.

The Active Upgrade technology splits the server, which is fully redundant with two integrated, but physically separate units that include CPU and I/O, into two independently running servers. One unit then runs the software uninterrupted, while software updates are made to the other side. The units are then remerged and resynchronized to run again in lockstep.

The ftServer 4300 brings three times the system performance and eight times the system bandwidth of its predecessor, the ftServer 3300, Lane says. It's also priced about 5% below the ftServer 3300, starting at around US$28,000.

The ftServer 4300 is a 4U (7-inch-high) design and comes with one or two 3.2-GHz Xeon processors with 1MB of L2 cache, up to 8GB of memory, an 800-MHz front side bus and six Serial ATA drives.

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