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Stratum is a proposal for an open source client-server "Overlay" protocol that enables thin clients (currently used by Electrum client). Stratum protocol is also used for pooled mining as a replacement for obsolete getwork protocol. Full mining service specification is available on Slush's pool website. See also on the forums and the official site.

Tables showing miner/server support for Stratum mining protocol:

Miner set diff reconnect add peers get ver show msg get hashrate get temp
Stratum proxy Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No
BFGMiner (>=2.9.0) Yes Yes No Yes No No No
cgminer (>=2.8.4) Yes Yes No Yes No No No
poclbm (>=20121020) Yes Yes No Yes No No No
Server get transactions dynamic difficulty job frequency resume
Slush's pool Yes No 30s No
BtcGuild No Yes 30s No
Eloipool Yes Yes 55s Yes
HHTT No No (User selected difficulty) 30s