When it comes to hardware-based fault-tolerant computing on x86 iron, there's really only two games in town: NEC and Stratus Technologies. For the past several generations of machines, these two companies have partnered, with Stratus essentially taking NEC's iron and weaving in its own system tools, packaging and pricing. …
"Stratus did not make configured pricing available for its machines, but says an entry ftServer comes in at around $13,000."
Could someone in the know please explain to those not in the know the key advantages of one of these versus multiple commodity server boxes in a cluster? I can imagine there's the advantage when running a bare-iron OS but what about v-motioned VMs? Genuinely interested.
The main advantage is zero downtime, even on hardware failure. If you blow a server in a VM environment, even with vsphere HA you still have restart time and dirty shutdown problems. VMWare Continuous availability is a sort of software version of this sort of thing though.
In situations where these servers are used - industrial control, finance, health etc, even a few minutes can have a dramatic impact on the service you are providing. Having said that, the price of them means that you wouldn't buy them unless your workload truly was critical.
Nuclear cause they run nuke plants!
Stratus vs. VMware
Interesting stuff. I looked a while ago at Stratus vs. VMware stuff. The latter offer zero downtime via Fault Tolerance feature, which AFAIK is still limited to a single vCPU machines (any improvement in vSphere 5.1??). The former is expensive, but offers bullet-proof HA, indeed.