The history of enterprise computing is rife with all kinds of marketing gimmicks, but rarely does an IT vendor put any cash behind its promises.
But that's exactly what Stratus Technologies has set out to do with a $50,000 cash guarantee behind its fault-tolerance servers.Customers that purchase an ftServer 6300 server based on 2.93 GHz X5570 Intel Xeon quad-core processors running Windows Server 2008 before Feb. 26, 2010, will receive $50,000 from Stratus if the server fails in the first six months of operation.
Six months may seem like a short window, but Stratus chief marketing officer Roy Sanford is using this offer to draw a distinction between real fault-tolerance and what every other server vendor calls fault-tolerance. At just over $40,000, the Stratus server costs less than $50,000 that Stratus is willing to put behind it and only costs slightly more than a comparable quad-core server from other vendors. Given the fact that any application work running in the enterprise will require multiple servers, it seems like buying systems that guarantee 99.9995 percent uptime is a good investment because it's not like the second processor is standing idle.
As Sanford points out, with virtual machines running on most physical servers these days, a system crash can take down a whole host of applications as once. So the question that many IT organizations have to answer, especially those running cloud computing services that are not backed up by service level agreements, is how long can they go with fault-tolerance being a standard part of their server architecture.