Stratus Adds Hyper-V Support To Fault Tolerant Servers

The ftServer line now supports Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware server virtualization, allowing virtualization for smaller IT infrastructures.

Daniel Dern, Contributor

October 6, 2010

4 Min Read

Stratus Technologies announced Wednesday it is adding support for Microsoft Hyper-V to its ftServer line of fault-tolerant platforms. The entry-level machine in the Stratus product line, the ftServer 2600 makes highly-available virtualized environments for mission critical applications more affordable for small-to-midsize businesses and for branch offices, the company claims.

Stratus is adding support for Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise, previously available on Stratus' 4500 and 6300/6310 systems, to the ftServer 2600 system and enabling use of Microsoft Hyper-V on all three systems.

Previously, Stratus only offered server virtualization using VMware. "Now, we also support Microsoft Hyper-V," said Denny Lane, director, product marketing and management, Stratus Technologies. "This allows companies to do server virtualization with smaller IT infrastructures, such as not needing extra software for doing replication, or requiring components like iSCSI or a SAN to provide shared storage. There are lots of companies looking at virtualizing their servers. As they do this, the importance of each physical server's availability grows."

According to Stratus, "The ftServer system architecture prevents downtime from occurring, using a combination of lock-step processor technology, failsafe software and advanced service technology. The server is completely redundant, housed in a single rack-optimized 4U enclosure, and ready to work out of the box."

Chris Wolf, research vice president at analyst firm Gartner, commented, "One limit in terms of providing fault-tolerance for virtual servers has been the lack of support for symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) systems. This is the first fault-tolerant hardware solution for Microsoft Hyper-V that can be on a symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) machine, rather than a software solution on top of commodity hardware. And this is a turnkey solution. So customers get high-availability as well as fault-tolerance right out of the box. This is attractive for SMBs as well as enterprises who have chosen to use Microsoft Hyper-V as their virtualization hypervisor.

Software-based VM fault tolerant solutions are available from VMware and from Stratus and Marathon Technologies for the XenServer hypervisor, Wolf noted.

"When you consolidate servers to virtual machines on one physical machine, the server becomes a single point of failure," said Wolf. "For mission-critical applications, high-availability is a requirement. But for small businesses and branch offices, IT complexity has always been a concern. Stratus' offering provides IT simplicity, avoiding the need for the high additional cost of shared storage and other hardware and software. If there is a hardware failure, even in an unattended location, it can be fixed before users experience a service outage." Offering Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise and Hyper-V on a Stratus fault-tolerant server "will help Windows Server customers take advantage of Hyper-V's many benefits, such as price, widely available skill sets and easy adoption and expanded use of virtualization for critical business workloads," said Roy Sanford, Stratus CMO. At the same time, running Windows Server 2008 R2 and Hyper-V on an ftServer platform "adds an availability dimension that hardens the entire solution against downtime and data loss."

A typical SMB server workload might include applications including Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server and SharePoint, possibly also virtualized desktops using Citrix XenDesktop. "You can put these, including all the tiers of a SharePoint, which normally each need their own server, onto one machine, using virtualization," said Lane.

Previously, to achieve high availability for Hyper-V environments, companies have been using software-based solutions like clustering using Microsoft Clustering Services. "We think that MCS is often too complex and expensive for SMBs," said Lane. "You need multiple OS licenses and copies, applications need to be cluster-able, and you need to add clustering awareness. Plus, MCS also needs shared storage, so you need a SAN. This translates to more capital expense, plus requires more sophisticated IT skills, and more IT time."

On a Stratus fault-tolerant ftServer, "The OS sees the machine as one logical server, so Microsoft licensing lets us deploy Microsoft Server 2008 Enterprise R2 with just one OS license, less cost in terms of license and IT skills. Plus, you can run four Microsoft Windows 'guests' on top of the hypervisor without requiring additional Windows licenses, which contributes further to the pricing advantage."

According to Stratus, the cost for an entry-level ftServer 2600 -- a 2.0 Ghz 4-core 1-socket server with 4GB RAM -- starts around $14,000, not counting the cost of Windows or another operating system.

Support for Microsoft Hyper-V is available now on all Stratus ftServer systems running Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition, at no additional cost. Existing Stratus customers with Stratus service contracts will be able to get the new Stratus software for Hyper-V, assuming their hardware is recent enough (and have or upgrade to Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise).

About the Author(s)

Daniel Dern


Daniel P. Dern is an independent technology and business writer. He can be reached via email at [email protected]; his website,; or his technology blog,

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