NEC, Stratus Take on Downtime

Vendors revamp fault-tolerant servers.

Stratus Technologies Inc. and NEC Solutions America Inc. are loading their respective fault-tolerant servers with even more technologies to ward off outages.

Stratus this week will roll out two servers powered by the latest Intel Corp. technology and will begin offering Microsoft Corp.s Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition preinstalled with all its fault-tolerant models.

The Maynard, Mass., company is releasing the rack- optimized ftServer 5600, powered by one or two Intel Xeon DP chips that run at up to 2.8GHz and include Intels performance-enhancing Hyper-Threading technology. The new ftServer 6600 supports as many as four Xeon MP 2GHz or 2.8GHz chips, the former offering 1MB of Level 3 cache and the latter 2MB of cache.

Both systems also feature the bladelike configuration of the entry-level ftServer 3300, which was introduced in March. Like blade servers, the ftServer systems fit into a chassis, which includes a backplane that offers network connectivity and power distribution. But within the ftServers slice design, each server has a specific task. In the 5600, there are two core I/O servers, two CPU servers and two expansion I/O servers. With the 6600, there are three CPU servers.

ftServer 3300 user Ron Ham said he likes the fact that Stratus keeps its systems up-to-date and feels that the need for that was highlighted by the recent Blaster virus.

Meanwhile, NEC, of Sacramento, Calif., this week will announce a bundle of hardware, software and services for customers seeking high availability in their Microsoft Exchange software. The company will guarantee no unplanned hardware outages as long as the bundle is kept intact, officials said.

The NEC Exchange-HA bundle entails NECs line of Express5800 high-availability servers, including the 320La system and 320Lb blade configuration, which mirrors Stratus slice systems. It also will include NECs upcoming two-way 330Lx, which will be powered by 2.8GHz Xeons with Hyper-Threading, and the four-way 340Lx, both of which will be released later this year.

Software in the bundle will include Symantec Corp.s AntiVirus 9.0 program as well as Exchange 2000 standard and enterprise editions, officials said. It will also include Exchange 2003 when it is released next month, they said.