Server Maker Offers “Free” Virtualisation Software


Stratus Technologies is shipping its fault-tolerant servers with VMware virtualisation software bundled at no charge.

Virtualisation software is being made available to small and midsized companies by server maker Stratus.

In a campaign called “We Feel Your Pain”, announced last week, Stratus said it is offering VMware Infrastructure Foundation virtualisation technology—which includes the VMware ESX hypervisor and one agent license for vCenter virtual infrastructure management—with its Intel-based systems.

The program is designed to give businesses—particularly small or midsized enterprises, or larger enterprises’ remote sites—easy access to virtualisation technology on Stratus’ fault-tolerant systems, Denny Lane, director of product marketing and management at Stratus, said in an interview.

The VMware Infrastructure Foundation technology normally sells for $995 (£714), Lane said. Stratus’ offer runs until  28 June.

The company’s fault-tolerant ftServer systems, which run both Microsoft Windows and Linux distributions, offer dual components that run in lockstep. If one component fails, the second one picks up the slack, with no loss of data or performance.

Stratus is a VMware reseller, and also offers the Standard and Enterprise editions of VMware Infrastructure, which includes VMotion and VMware HA (high availability).

Those companies that start with the free VMware Infrastructure Foundation have an upgrade path if they want it down the road, Lane said.

A number of vendors, including VMware and Marathon Technologies, are looking to marry fault-tolerance with their virtualisation technology. VMware officials in September announced that they were going to add to the high-availability tool they already offer with a fault-tolerant feature—dubbed VMware Fault Tolerance—that creates a shadow copy of a virtual machine that will kick in if there is a hardware failure.

Marathon last year unveiled its EverRun VM software, which is designed to bring low-cost fault-tolerance to virtual machines.

Lane said that offering virtualisation capabilities on its hardware platform gives Stratus a leg up on its software-based competitors.

“For availability, a purpose-built hardware platform will always give you better availability [than a software-based offering],” he said.

With Stratus servers running VMware Infrastructure Foundation, businesses don’t need a vCenter Server license—VMware includes a Web-based GUI and a single server management console for free—and there is no need for redundant servers. Because of that, there’s also no need for for redundant application, OS or ESX licenses. In addition, the SAN and networking around the environment is simplified with the lack of redundant servers, Lane said.

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