Stratus Technologies, one of the leaders in hardware fault-tolerant platforms, has acquired its main competitor, Marathon Technologies, in a move that consolidates the best of hardware and software fault-tolerant computing systems into a single entity.  Stratus’ claim to fame came from its hardware fault-tolerant servers that were built in pairs, with duplicate hardware, to ensure that no single component failure would cause any system downtime. Stratus built very solid and reliable systems but on its own proprietary hardware; this acquisition now expands Stratus’ ability to provide software fault tolerance to any industry-standard physical or virtual server. This opens opportunities for new customers no matter what physical hardware the customer uses and prefers. 

From this acquisition, the addition of Marathon’s everRun line will continue to solidify Stratus’ position as the leading provider of availability resources. EverRun MX is the first software technology to support multi-core-/processor-based Microsoft applications. This leaves Stratus in a position to state that “there is virtually no requirement for uptime we cannot meet.” This software acquisition could be the start of other acquisitions for Stratus as they attempt to increase the size of the software business and work on their ability to deliver to the marketplace a complete and total software solution for business continuity with application availability and disaster recovery.

The everRun MX product has an option called Extend that lets it do geographically distributed clustering over wide area networks, which will be useful for Stratus. (The asynchronous replication feature in everRun MX Extend is actually a licensed version of ARCserveDR from CA Technologies.) Unlike VMware’s vSphere FT fault-tolerant extensions, everRun MX can span more than one virtual CPU when it does failover of a single virtual machine, which would be particularly valuable to VMware.

Marathon has another crown jewel that has been discontinued, yet which is still supported—its software-based fault-tolerant clustering for the older 32-bit Windows Servers running on physical hardware. Stratus might be in a position to re-engineer the code into future products, or perhaps they just did not want any other competitors to get their hands on the code?

Stratus will hire about 40 Marathon people, which would include everyone except the CEO and CFO. No financial terms of the acquisition were discussed or announced.

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Steve Beaver (161 Posts)

Stephen Beaver is the co-author of VMware ESX Essentials in the Virtual Data Center and Scripting VMware Power Tools: Automating Virtual Infrastructure Administration as well as being contributing author of Mastering VMware vSphere 4 and How to Cheat at Configuring VMware ESX Server. Stephen is an IT Veteran with over 15 years experience in the industry. Stephen is a moderator on the VMware Communities Forum and was elected vExpert for 2009 and 2010. Stephen can also be seen regularly presenting on different topics at national and international virtualization conferences.

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