Stratus Computer Inc is closing in on the low end of the market, while rivals such Tandem Computers Inc are driving their fault- tolerant technologies up into the stratosphere, reports our sister publication Unigram.X. It is repackaging its Continuum server into a new entry-level Series 400 line which use uses PCI bus input-output system. Stratus achieves fault-tolerance by duplicating processing elements and each of the four models in the so-called Polo line comes with dual suitcase-style processing nodes (complete with handles), which plug into a base system pedestal. Like the dual-processor, six-slot Series 600 and 12- slot Series 1200 quad, the 400s use Hewlett-Packard Co’s PA-7100 Precision Architecture RISC. Each 412 node comes with a single 96MHz CPU, 512Kb board-level cache, 128Mb main memory and is priced from $66,000. A usable system configured with disk and Ethernet will be $69,100. All 400 models incorporate 14 PCI slots – two for disk. We need to get out of the proprietary input- output market, the company acknowledges, promising all-new PCI models by year-end using the forthcoming 64-bit PA-8000 and hinting at a PCI makeover for existing Continuums. The Model 415 comes with a single CPU and 2Mb board-level cache. The two-way 422 comes with 512Kb cache; the 425 has 2Mb cache. The Series 400 models, which lack the integrated uninterruptible power supply and expandability of their 600 and 1200 cousins, run Stratus’ FTX Unix – and the proprietary VOS from early next year. Polo’s packaging is around one third of the other Continuum’s refrigerator size. While the new models may encroach on the space occupied by its Radio high-availability personal computer servers, Stratus says Radio is primarily a Windows NT system. The company is also eyeing the market for Internet-based commerce with a bundle of software for Continuums called Electronic Commerce server, which includes Open Market Inc’s Secure WebServer, OM-Transaction and OM-Access products. Also available are the Electronic Data Interchange and communications gateway software from Stratus’s S2 Systems Inc subsidiary plus Isocor Inc’s electronic mail gateways, X.500 directory and X.400 services. The $35,000 to $500,000 bundles are available for FTX initially but will go up on Radio/NT in six to nine months. Although 80% of Stratus’s claimed installed base of 8,000 systems – spread across 68020, 68030, 80860 and PA-RISC architectures – use the VOS operating system, it says FTX sales now account for some 30% of revenue. It will use Santa Cruz Operation Inc’s 3DA OEM offering as the basis of its future Unix requirements.
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