Stratus Computer announced yesterday that it would launch its new Stratus ftServer series, a line of Intel processor-based servers for Windows 2000 environments, in Asia this August. Bulk shipment will be available in October.
by William Tse
HONG KONG, 12 July 2000 - Introduced by Steve Kiely, chairman, president and CEO of Stratus Computer, the new Stratus
ftServer series delivers minimum hardware availability of 99.999% to the MS Windows 2000 platform.
"This meets the exploding demand for uninterrupted computer processing, particularly in Internet and business-to-business
e-commerce applications, where system downtime is costly in terms of revenue and customer loss, depressed market
capitalization, competitive disadvantage, and business viability," Kiely said.
So what is the effect on a business when the server goes down and everything stops?
In response to this question, Kiely quoted ebay as an example. "Its server had gone down once in June
1999 and this caused the company to suffer from a gigantic loss of US$5 billion in stock value in the following
two days," he said.
According to IDC, the Windows NT and Windows 2000 market for high availability and continuous availability computing
will exceed US$11 billion by 2003.
Also, IDC has long believed that 99.999% availability will become the de facto requirement in any Internet server
"In fact, one way to read this requirement is the need for true high availability, or rather the need to gain
access to true fault tolerant technology. Nonetheless, traditional fault tolerance has been out of reach to the
masses simply because of cost. To this point, our new fault tolerant ftServer series is an option for the market,
especially for those Application and Internet Service Providers (ASPs and ISPs)," he said.
The newly unveiled machines include ftServer 5200 and the one-to-four way ftServer 6500. Both come with a new
hardware design implementation, know as Dual Modular Redundancy and Triple Modular Redundancy (DMR/TMR).
The DMR/TMR architecture enables the new ftServers to deliver 99.999% hardware availability in baseline configurations.
"Five-nines is our availability baseline. More sophisticated configurations will offer six nines, or 99.9999%
hardware availability," he added.
Windows NT vs Windows 2000 platforms
Although it seems likely that Windows NT is dominating now, Kiely deemed that Windows 2000 platform will become
a new industry standard in the near future.
"In fact, UNIX has been developed for more than 30 years and should be replaced by a more elegant and sophisticated
technology. Currently, UNIX has a lot of limitations and does not allow applications to be used across platforms.
Since the new Windows 2000 is a well-established platform and with the support of Microsoft and application developers,
Windows 2000 will grow dramatically in the near future," he said.
Hardware fault tolerance
Every Stratus ftServer uses fully replicated, fault-tolerant hardware to eliminate virtually any single point of
failure and protect data integrity. Duplicate components operate in lockstep - processing the same instruction
at the same time.
So in the event of a component failure, there is no interruption in processing, no lost data,
and no slowdown in performance. Hot-pluggable components allow replacements and reconfiguration to take place while
the server stays online.
The software of ftServer family is completely Application Binary Interface (ABI) compatible with standard Windows
2000 Server operating environments.
The Stratus software also enables applications written for Windows 2000 to automatically take advantage of the
company's fault tolerant features, including redundant hardware components and integrated service technology. Users
can thus maximize uptime for applications, middleware, and operating systems.
More focus on Asian markets
Since Asian economies are recovering at a vigorous pace, Haruyoshi Iida, vice president of Stratus' Asia Pacific
Operations, said that the company would set up more business networks in the region in order to secure more market
"The booming e-business markets and fast-growing Internet and mobile penetration rate in Asia Pacific have
encouraged us to be more aggressive in the region. Indeed, the total PC server unit shipment in Asia Pacific had
been increased from 233,007 units in 1998 to 334,288 units last year. This represented a significantly 43.5% increment,"
"This kind of dynamism will continue. We forecast the total PC server unit shipment in the region will exceed
468,000 units at the end of the year, and 655,000 units by 2001. The market value will be over US$5 billion in
the region. This is definitely a very potential and profitable business for us, and we target to have 5% of such
market. In other words, we plan to ship more than 23,400 ftServers this year and 32,750 units next year,"
Iida said that Stratus will use partnership strategy to help facilitate the market penetration in the region. In Hong
Kong, Stratus partners with Automated Systems Holding Ltd. to market these new ftServers, targeting at enterprises
that demand highly reliable fault tolerant servers for business-critical and mission-critical applications in the
fast-moving e-commerce environments.