It is clear that the folks at Stratus Technologies understand that virtualized environments are likely to become the norm at organizations of all sizes. Helping smaller organizations realize that vision is going to take some help, however. Stratus appears to be willing to put its "money where its mouth is" by including VMware Essentials when customers purchase one of their Stratus ftServer fault tolerant systems.
What Stratus has to say about this
VMware Essentials virtualization software for small and medium-size businesses will be bundled at no charge with the purchase of a Stratus® ftServer® system, Stratus Technologies announced today. First announced in March with VMware Foundation software for free, the “We Feel Your Pain” program is intended to help customers make cost-effective technology investments with immediate positive impact today and lasting value as the current economic cycle runs its course.
vSphere Essentials enables server consolidation and centralized provisioning, monitoring and management to deliver immediate hardware and operational cost-saving. The software includes the hypervisor, patch management, management agent and management server. However, VMware Fault Tolerance (FT) is not supported in VMware Essentials, Essentials Plus or vSphere Standard editions. VMware Essentials must run on a fault-tolerant server in order to achieve continuous availability for consolidation of servers and applications, and for individual applications critical to business operations.
For medium-size enterprises seeking to leverage existing infrastructure, or distributed sites at the edge of corporate networks, the server-consolidation benefits of virtualization are compelling. Stratus ftServer systems with free VMware Essentials software – US list price $995 – provide a continuously available computing platform with the plug-and-play simplicity of a standalone x86 server. The Stratus SMP fault-tolerant architecture supports up to eight processor cores and is designed to prevent downtime and data loss, making it an ideal platform for multiple virtual machines with mixed operating environments. An Intel Xeon processor-based Stratus server supports both Windows and Linux applications.
Snapshot analysisSmall and medium sized organizations could stand to reduce costs while deploying the same workloads by using virtual machine software technology. They could also enjoy higher levels of application availability and reliability with little or no additional effort by selecting a fault tolerant system.
Why a fault tolerant system? Virtual machines would almost never have to deal with system outages because the system itself would deal with them transpearantly. This means no additional layers of availability software would be required. This also means that the organization would not need to purchuce such software, find the expertise to install such software or even deal with the day-to-day operational issues that software presents.
What has scared off many of these organizations? Fault tolerant systems historically have been perceived as expensive, proprietary and slow.
What's changed? Stratus' newest generations of machines have been based upon industry standard components and are very cost-effective, when compared to purchasing several standard systems plus high availability software plus hiring needed staff with experience in "continuous computing" environments.
Adding VMware's virtualization products to these systems appears to allow Stratus to play in a different environment and should make it possible for smaller organizations to have the same "never stop" computing environments that larger organizations have deployed for years.