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Stratus Technologies Inc. is bringing its fault-tolerant server platform down into the volume systems space, giving users an alternative to clusters and Stratus access to an area of the industry that it didn’t have before.

The ftServer W Series 2300 system has many of the features of the higher-end 3300, but at about $10,000, it is half the cost, said Dan Fallon, consulting product manager for the Maynard, Mass., company. The one-way system, powered by Intel Corp.’s 3.06GHz Xeon processor and running Microsoft Corp.’s Windows 2003 Standard Edition operating system, offers the same lock-step technology that the larger systems do—two sets of components on a printed circuit board running in lock-step, with one taking over the if the other fails.

“We’re bringing fault tolerance to another level,” Fallon said.

However, the 2300 is smaller than the 3300 as Stratus reduced the number of some components, he said. For example, the 2300, which will be available in tower or 4U (7-inch) rack configurations, will offer only one set of power supplies rather than the four found in the 3300. In addition, Stratus reduced the number of printed circuit boards from 18 to three. The new design makes the system 22 percent smaller and 63 percent lighter than Stratus’ current entry-level system.

In addition, unlike the 3300, the 2300 needs to be taken down to do some repairs, such as to the motherboard. The 3300 can continue running while those repairs are made.

Fallon said he doubts such trade-offs will keep customers from buying the 2300.

Click here to read eWEEK Labs’ review of the ftServer 3300.

Stratus is targeting the 2300—which will be available in mid-October—at decentralized locations with limited IT support, such as branch offices, retail chains and warehouses, which don’t always need to be up and running.

The 2300 is the first model for Stratus to embed serial ATA technology, offering three internal channels, and to use Stratus’ Virtual Technician Module, or VTM, for remote monitoring and troubleshooting.

Both Stratus and NEC Solutions (America) Inc. position their fault-tolerant offerings against cluster configurations, which Fallon said offer multiple points of failure, higher costs, greater complexity and software licensing issues.

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