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Stratus Technologies, a leading maker of super-reliable servers has boosted one of its lower-end systems aimed at running Windows Server 2003.

Stratus today announced the W Series ftServer 4600 box, which was built around a brand new, homemade chipset. The two-processor server runs on 3.6GHz Xeon (Irwindale) chips from Intel and can crank through information up to 66 per cent faster than previous 5600 systems, according to Stratus. In addition to the new chips, the server also ships with cheaper SATA hard drives instead of the SCSI drives available with the 4600's predecessor.

Stratus, for the uninitiated, prides itself on adding an unprecedented level of reliability to rather standard servers. These so-called high-availability machines cost more than regular two or four processor boxes but typically less than similar systems based on proprietary processors and components. Financial institutions, public safety bodies and manufacturing companies tend to be the most likely customers for these types of specialized servers.

Stratus customers will find that the ftServer 4600 takes up one-third less space than its predecessor and ships with the latest Intel chip technology such as a 2MB Level 2 cache on each chip, support for up to 16GB of DDR2 memory and an 800MHz front-side bus. "Further, input/output-bound applications running on the ftServer 4600 system can expect as much as a five-fold performance improvement. The chipset also makes possible first-of-its-kind performance features and enhancements that Stratus plans to include in future Stratus 4000 Series server models," Stratus said.

On the storage side, customers will find that the new box holds up to six 74GB Western Digital Raptor 10,000 RPM SATA drives. This gives customers a product with a similar performance but lower price than previous SCSI drives. Stratus also supports EMC's Clariion, AX100 and Symmetrix systems for external storage.

The ftServer 4600 should be one of Stratus's better sellers and is aimed right at Windows Server 2003 customers. Later this year, Stratus expects to come out with a box specifically for Linux customers as well.

Customers will find that a pretty well loaded version of the ftServer 4600 server will cost them close to $40,000. That price includes four of the Xeon processors even though Stratus officially calls the system a two-way server. That's because of Stratus's no single point-of-failure design. More information on the box is available here. ®

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