Virtualization Technology News and Information
Stratus New Avance Software Delivers Low-cost High Availability, Virtualization and Business Continuity

Stratus Technologies, Inc. breaks new ground today with its announcement of Stratus Avance software, the company’s first software-based high availability (HA) product. Using embedded virtualization and running on ordinary x86 servers, Avance provides levels of availability superior to, and without the complexity of, highavailability cluster solutions for Linux and Windows applications.

Avance enables customers to create high-availability servers literally in minutes, and immediately benefit from the ability to create and manage virtual machines based on the Citrix XenServer™ virtualization platform. The U.S. list price for Avance software is $2,500 per server.

“Given a choice of protecting your business applications with high availability or risking something less, you would choose HA if the price was right, it was simple to use, and it allowed you to benefit from the many advantages of virtualization. Avance is all of that right out of the box,” said Tim Wegner, general manager, Avance. “Your most critical applications still need the protection only fault tolerance can deliver but, for the majority of a company’s availability needs, Avance is the answer.”

Stratus’ new software-based solution targets the SMB market as well as “edge” applications in large distributed networks where IT-staff support is minimal or non-existent. Prospective customers include medical practices, retail chains, small companies, branch banks, remote office or departmental computing, or distributed warehouses, distribution hubs or manufacturing facilities, for example.

Avance essentially installs itself in less than 15 minutes after a customer enters three commands. Once installed on two Ethernet-connected x86 servers with operating systems, a customer can be deploying virtual machines in even less time with the embedded Citrix XenServer virtualization engine and point-and-click wizards. Avance software provides levels of data protection, availability uptime, and business continuity previously beyond the reach of many technology purchasers, as well as for those averse to the cost, complexity, and management demands of highavailability cluster systems.

“When Stratus asked us to test its new Avance high availability we were happy to determine if it performed as Stratus said it would,” said Pierre Naudé, senior vice president and general manager of Postilion, a leading global provider of integrated solutions for self-service banking and payment processing. “We found Avance software to be exceptionally reliable, simple to use and manage, and attractively priced. Plus, with the added benefits of embedded virtualization technology as standard we recognized that the Avance solution could be extremely valuable for our customers. We hold all of our solutions to high availability standards and a solution that offers a minimum of 99.99 percent reliability is the right fit for this class of availability requirements. The ability to offer customers a simple way to realize the benefits of virtualization technology can be a huge market differentiator for us.”

Unlike other high-availability solutions, Avance HA is instant and automatic. Processing takes place on one server and data is simultaneously written to the mate, which can seamlessly assume processing duties at any time should the primary server go out of service. If that happens, the affected server is removed from the network, alerts go out to user-defined recipients, a repair is made, and the server is brought back online to resynchronize with the active node with no downtime or data loss. Avance monitors the “health” of both servers and manages all server operations, including the creation and management of highly available virtual environments using Citrix XenServer technology. Avance software’s key features of include:

  • Uptime reliability of >99.99 percent for Windows and RHEL
  • Predictive failure analysis with transparent live migration to secondary server
  • Remote monitoring and management of the host OS, VMs, physical servers and interfaces
  • Immediate deployment of a virtualized environment with multiple guest OS support
  • Fully native 64-bit guest support
  • Support for up to eight virtual CPUs in each virtual machine
  • No SAN required
  • Online hardware and operating environment upgrades
  • Deployment on industry-standard commodity hardware
  • Extremely fast restart of OS or guest virtual machines after a catastrophic outage

According to James Coffin, Dell vice president and general manager, Healthcare and Life Sciences, “With healthcare’s rapid conversion to electronic patient records and services comes a heightened awareness of the importance of infrastructure reliability and data availability. Avance software on a Dell platform can satisfy a majority of a hospital’s and medical practice’s application availability requirements. Dell servers with Avance software will represent a new category of high availability and simplicity, with virtualization technology included for maximum flexibility. That’s a value proposition any business can appreciate, not only healthcare.”

Avance software is available from Stratus channel partners and distributors, and in volume purchases directly from Stratus. Complete Avance system details and specifications are available at

“Stratus knows from three decades of first-hand knowledge that, all things being equal, every provider and user of computer-based services would opt for superior uptime reliability given the choice. Avance software is the equalizer, eliminating the two biggest barriers – cost and complexity – with the added benefits of built-in virtualization technology,” said David Laurello, Stratus president and CEO. “Stratus’ specialized expertise supporting customers’ most critical applications is engineered into this ready-to-use, high-availability solution for both the Davids and the Goliaths of the world. Now instead of worrying over application availability, businesses and organizations of all sizes can focus time and resources on being successful.”

Published Wednesday, June 11, 2008 10:17 PM by David Marshall
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