Stratus bets $100,000 on Windows

Stratus Technologies Inc. believes in Windows.

The company is backing one of its fault-tolerant servers with a US$100,000 guarantee that the system will not crash when running Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 2000 Advanced Server, Stratus announced Monday. Under the terms of the "Perfect Performance" program, Stratus will shell out the cash to any customer who experiences unplanned downtime from an operating system or hardware failure on its ftServer 6500 product, said James Gargan, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Stratus.

"One of the biggest concerns IT managers have is that more of their applications are becoming mission critical," Gargan said."Microsoft customers are clamoring for this."

Stratus, based in Maynard, Massachusetts, makes strengthened versions of Intel Corp.-based servers that include either double or triple the number of standard components to ensure the system will not go down. For example, if a processor fails, the Stratus servers have spare chips to pick up the workload. Customers have used Stratus systems to make sure their applications are always available in applications such as emergency call centers.

Although Windows has a reputation as less stable than most other server operating systems, Stratus is willing to stand behind the OS for this deal. The company does work to improve device drivers and make sure applications will not cause the OS to crash, Gargan said.

Users who want to take advantage of the deal will need to purchase an ftServer 6500 system with triple redundant components and Stratus' support services. With four processors, this system costs about $150,000, Gargan said.

One analyst said the deal simply reconfirms what Stratus has been doing all along.

"Implicitly, they have already been doing this with the systems themselves," said Gordon Haff, an analyst at Nashua, New Hampshire-based Illuminata Inc. "This sort of puts their money where their mouth is."

Haff noted that these types of guarantees often come with "a fair bit of fine print" that narrows the terms of the deal. Stratus said the plan covers users through the first year of their service contract.

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