Stratus has launched a fault-tolerant server based on Intel's latest quad-core 2.66GHz Xeon processor.

The ftServer 6200, which Stratus claims is industry’s first quad-core fault-tolerant server, is the company's new performance flagship. Running either Windows or Linux, Stratus claimed it can triple the performance of the previous top-of-the-line model, which is based on a dual-core chip.

The 6200 can be bought in either rack or pedestal form and is mechanically similar to today's top-end system, with the same rack/front bezel design and chassis. However, according to Andy Bailey, Stratus' UK availability consultant, the internal architecture's been uprated to cope with the higher throughput. This includes a PCIe bus, and SAS as well as SATA drives. Other storage supported on the ftServer 6200 includes EMC Symmetrix/Clariion systems, and HP EVA500 and EVA 4000/6000/800. Memory capacity's up too, from 16GB to 24GB. Full specifications are available here.

Like other Stratus servers, it's aimed at those needing high availability - the company's traditionally been strong in vertical markets such as finance and telecoms, where availability is not perceived as optional. However, Bailey said that the 6200 could start to take sales from high-end Unix machines, as well as acting as a platform for those wanting to consolidate multiple servers using virtualisation.

"There's aggressive server consolidation going on out there," said Bailey. "But the risk profile goes up as you consolidate. You can set up server farms to mitigate that but we try to prevent that failure in the first place."

Stratus makes 99.999 per cent uptime claims for its FT architecture on the grounds that each hardware and software component is duplicated, including the CPU. The CPUs are in lockstep so that they can pick up from each other in a few clock cycles if a failure causes one to stop. Intel is an investor in Stratus, and has added microcode to its server CPUs that allow Stratus to implement this. As a result, Stratus has no plans to develop an AMD-based box.

The alternative to Stratus' in-built fault-tolerance is clustering, says the company, which is complex and expensive to setup and maintain. It concedes that its products are more expensive to buy but that you save over time. "We're confident that we offer savings over the lifecycle of the box," said Bailey.

The ftServer 6200 system is the first product developed jointly by Stratus and NEC as a result of a collaboration agreement signed November 2005, said the company. NEC's role is to manage and quality assure the outsourced manufacturing process, said Bailey, which is performed by Selectron in the USA.

Stratus is currently beta testing the server, which will be available in June 2007. The server will first ship with support for Windows Server 2003 operating system, with Red Hat Linux support following three months later.

Prices will be available later.