Newly Acquired Stratus Technologies Plots Path To The Fault-Tolerant Cloud

Stratus Technologies told CRN the company plans to take its fault-tolerant software to the cloud, making it possible for customers to run most of their applications in fault-tolerant cloud environments without the need to modify those applications.

Stratus Technologies, which on Monday said it was acquired by private equity firm Siris Capital Group for about $352 million, also plans to relaunch its channel program as its focus gradually shifts more toward software-based fault-tolerant technology, which is growing faster than its hardware, said Nigel Dessau, CMO of the Maynard, Mass.-based server and software vendor.

Stratus Technologies over the past couple of decades developed and sold x86-based fault-tolerant servers that promise 99.999 percent uptime, Dessau said. While that business is still growing by single-digit rates, however, its software business is booming, he said.

[Related: Stratus Technologies Acquired By Investor, Plans Fault-Tolerant Software, Cloud Push]

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Stratus Technologies' shift toward fault-tolerant software, which turns two x86-based servers into a fault-tolerant solution, stems from technology that came with Stratus' 2012 acquisition of Marathon Technologies.

Stratus last month combined its own Avance software and the ex-Marathon everRun application to form everRun Enterprise, which Dessau said brings mainframe-like availability to industry-standard x86 servers. "It's really the first time an industry-standard platform can bring mainframe-type services to the x86 server business in terms of availability," he said.

Cloud is a real growth opportunity for Stratus and its channel partners, Dessau said. This is particularly true with private clouds, for which Stratus is focusing on developing OpenStack-based solutions.

That technology, expected to be available for testing soon and for general release sometime in 2014, will allow customers with Windows or Linux applications to move them to the cloud while gaining the benefits of fault tolerance, he said.

"It's a real no-fuss way to move existing apps to a private cloud without the need to rewrite the apps," he said. "Our research suggests about 50 percent of customer apps can be moved to a private cloud."

The everRun technology has proven itself as a true fault-tolerant solution that lives up to its promise of no downtime for customers, said Scott Gorcester, founder and CEO of VirtualQube, a Woodinville, Wash.-based cloud services provider that started working with Marathon in the 1990s.

Gorcester said his company is looking forward to testing everRun Enterprise in the next few weeks, and seeing how it works as part of a cloud solution for customers.

NEXT: A Channel Program To Help Partners Build Fault-Tolerant Private Clouds

"The cloud solution is something we're interested in," he said. "We've been in conversations with Stratus on this. We hope we're a partner who can help Stratus with the program. A vision of mine has been to offer fault-tolerant data centers. We could see using Stratus' fault-tolerant technology in data centers in a very powerful way."

Stratus currently has no plans to take everRun Enterprise to public clouds at this point, Dessau said.

"Big public cloud providers have their own server infrastructure," he said. "Also, their definition of availability is not what our customers expect. Google Compute offers 99.9 percent availability, and Google doesn't count as downtime anything under five minutes. We offer 99.999 percent availability. Our customers expect under five minutes of downtime in a year."

To help solution providers transition to more of a software and a cloud focus, Stratus Technologies in the next few weeks plans to relaunch its channel partner program, Dessau said.

"Our program was designed in the days when we were a hardware business," he said. "Now we have as many software partners as we do hardware partners. We want to rebuild with a three-tier distribution program with VADs [value-added distributors] to support our VARs."