After many attempts at scheduling a meeting, I was finally able to speak with Stratus about their new virtual machine/clustering/HA software offering called Avance. It's Stratus' entry into the pure software market.
Here's how Stratus describes Avance
Stratus Technologies can provide some relief. With the introduction of Stratus Avance™ software you get an easy-to-use solution that reinvents high-availability and virtualization. Avance delivers lasting benefits you won't get from other HA solutions: lowering IT costs while improving application availability — without requiring specialized or incremental IT resources.
Automatic high availability. Avance software innovations enable ordinary x86 servers to deliver greater than 99.99% uptime — automatically. Failure-prevention features protect your business against data corruption and loss. Complete online monitoring eliminates the need for onsite technical personnel. It all adds up to a rock-solid foundation for the built-in virtualization capabilities that are part of this one-of-a kind package.
Effortless virtualization. Avance software’s tightly integrated HA and virtualization technology translates to simplified server consolidation or hosting of multiple virtualized applications. Setting up a resilient, virtualized environment has never been easier. In fact, you can set up virtual Windows® and Linux® machines on an Avance system in minutes. And all of the virtual machines and applications in your solution remain fully protected by Avance HA technology.
IT complexity conquered. Operational simplicity solidifies the advantages of Avance technology over other HA alternatives. Highly automated features facilitate easy set-up. Built-in error handling and the uniquely designed Avance remote management console make it effortless to monitor and support the virtual HA environment. The Windows and Linux virtual machines, physical x86 systems and network interfaces can all be managed from this single, web-based management console that runs within the Avance HA environment.
What's Avance really doing?
Avance is a virtual machine technology that is loaded on a bare machine that provides HA/clustering capabilities for Windows and Linux virtual machines. Avance uses some very clever caching, network virtualization and storage virtualization capabilities to create a very highly available computing environment. Stratus claims that Avance offers greater than 99.99% uptime without requiring that workloads be modified in any way.
Other than the bit about being a bare-metal virtual machine environment, the story Stratus is telling seems very similar to things said by SteelEye. It is also very similar to the availability/fail over story told by many of the orchestration/automation vendors including Cassatt, Novell, Scalent, Surgient, VMlogix, or VMware. The only thing that is really different is the fact that this software appears to be implemented as a hypervisor rather than as an add-on clustering or orchestration manager.
Organizations will have to do their own cost/benefit analysis to determine if Stratus Avance g will fit their requirements better than the others. One thing is clear, Stratus has a very long record of success with never-fail computing environments. With that expertise in the background, it is likely that Avance will be powerful and easy to use.