Stratus Launches Services Unit

The server company looks to extend its high-availability expertise into the managed services arena.

Stratus Technologies, known best for its fault-tolerant server, is launching a services business based on its high-availability experience.

At its Stratus World show in Las Vegas on March 27, Stratus is announcing its Solution Services Group, a business unit set up to work with customers and partners to design, implement and manage infrastructures that need continuous availability, said Dave Femia, business manager for the new group, in an interview before the show.

The Maynard, Mass., company has been working with some customers already, and Femia said they routinely are pushing for greater uptime of their environments.

"That availability has re-emerged as a top issue for these companies," Femia said.

Stratus line of fault-tolerant servers offers two each of the key components that run in lock-step, so that if one component fails, the other one can pick up the work without any interruption to the customer. The goal of the services business is to take that expertise in helping businesses build and monitor such environments.

"What our customers are clearly telling us is that the issue of availability is a real issue beyond the servers," said Gregory Enriquez, senior vice president of worldwide sales for the company.

The services unit builds off of Stratus Continuous Availability Framework, which the company first unveiled in April 2005 as a holistic approach to creating a high-availability infrastructure.

The framework calls for assessing and creating an environment that supports continuous availability, remotely managing the environment through services and dashboards, and monitoring and evaluating the infrastructure.

Stratus will offer these capabilities through both in-house expertise as well as outside partners, and will oversee the entire operation, giving the customer a single point of contact.

One customer Stratus has been working with is Hotel Booking Solutions, an online reservation company that is completing the move of its data center from Dallas to Ashburn, Va. The new facility will be the first of several data centers the Atlanta-based company will open as it grows into a more global business, said Greg Berman, vice president of engineering for Hotel Booking Solutions.

The company already used Stratus fault-tolerant servers in the Dallas center and upgraded the systems when it moved to Virginia. With the new data center, Hotel Booking Solutions also wanted a fully managed environment. They looked at the usual suspects—from IBM to Electronic Data Systems—but also wanted to give Stratus a try.

"We obviously had a history with them on the hardware side of it," Berman said. "We had a very good relationship with them. We felt if these guys can do it, and we already know them, lets give it a shot."

He said the monitoring and management capabilities that Stratus installed have worked well on not only the hardware layer but also the software layer.

Stratus officials say they expect their services business to generate 10 to 20 percent of the companys revenues by 2010. The goal now is just to keep the unit moving forward.

"Anytime were talking with a [prospective customer], were asking procedural questions," Femia said.

Stratus is focusing on its key customer segments, including manufacturing, life sciences, retail and e-commerce.

In mid- to late summer, Stratus will expand its services platform to include such aspects as process business rules, trending and capacity-related capabilities, Femia said. The goal is to offer not only corrective actions but also additional proactive ones, he said.


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