Linux Comes to Stratus — Finally
By Bill Claybrook
July 8, 2003
About two years ago, some colleagues and I made a trip to Stratus in Maynard, MA, for a briefing. At the time, Stratus was running Windows on its fault-tolerant servers. It was clear that Stratus was in very tight with Microsoft. Company executives said they had a small group of engineers —around four— doing some work with Linux, but they were reluctant to rock the boat with Microsoft.
I worked at Stratus in the late 1980’s as Director, DBMSs and OLTP. We used VOS as our fault-tolerant operating system while Unix –which was being made fault-tolerant— ran Oracle and Sybase. When IBM stopped OEMing Stratus’s platforms, revenue dipped and momentarily rebounded with a renewed telecommunications business. Subsequently, Ascend acquired Stratus for its telecom business, however it did not want the enterprise computing business. A leveraged management buyout (from Ascend) of this business resulted in Stratus becoming a privately held company — which it remains today. Interestingly enough, Ascend was acquired by Lucent and after a few transactions involving Cemprus and Platinum Equity Partners, Stratus reacquired its former telecommunications business.
At that Stratus briefing two years ago, it seemed that Linux would be a natural fit for a company that needed an operating system to run on fault-tolerant servers. Linux was already perceived as a more reliable operating system than Windows, and placing it on Stratus’s ftServer and Continuum server lines made a lot of sense. Now the company is actually doing it. I expect that within four years Linux-based servers will be Stratus’s dominant revenue generator.