Fault Tolerant Computing Consolidation: Stratus Acquires Marathon

Maynard, Mass.-based Stratus on Monday said it acquired Littleton, Mass.-based Marathon for an undisclosed amount as a way to expand its technology and its customer and partner base.

Stratus develops fault tolerant servers, or servers with duplicate hardware that, when paired, ensure that no single component failure will cause system downtime. Marathon, on the other hand, develops software that enables a pair of industry-standard servers to offer fault tolerant computing.

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The acquisition of Marathon gives Stratus a more rounded technology offering and an expanded customer and partner base, said Dave LeClair, director of product management and marketing at Stratus.

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"While both do fault tolerant computing, we come to the market in different ways," LeClair said. "Stratus does fault tolerant hardware, but not using industry-standard servers. Marathon has a software solution that works on industry-standard servers, so it's easier to sell to customers that have preferred server platforms."

In addition to its ftServer hardware offering, Stratus also has a software solution, Stratus Avance, which provides high availability in Windows and Linux server environments. However, LeClair said, Stratus Avance does not provide fault tolerant capabilities.

With Marathon, Stratus also gets a significant base of customers and partners in certain vertical markets where Stratus had less presence, including building automation and security, baggage handling, broadcasting and gaming, LeClair said.

"Also, we get to enhance our team with some very experienced sales and marketing people," he said. "The availability market tends to be nuanced, so finding the right people to expand is not always easy."

Stratus will hire about 40 Marathon people, which includes everyone except that company's CEO and CFO. It also gets a consistent revenue stream and an operation that will be profitable once the office space and other expenses of a stand-alone business are phased out, LeClair said.

Going forward, Stratus will move to get both companies' indirect sales channel partners to offer both product lines. Marathon sales came almost exclusively through indirect channels, while Stratus' U.S. operations had been growing its indirect capabilities, LeClair said.

He said that Marathon partners will not require a lot of training to start working with the Stratus line.

Stratus declined to discuss financial terms of the acquisition.