Compaq, IBM unite to sell storage solutions

ITworld.com |  Storage

IBM and Compaq Computer Thursday announced a strategic agreement to resell key
storage products and to ensure interoperability of each company's storage hardware and
software.

Systems covered by the deal include Compaq's StorageWorks Modular Array storage systems
and software and VersaStor technology for SAN-wide utilization, as well as IBM's Shark
Enterprise Storage Server platform and select Tivoli systems management software.

The companies said their total investments in the program could exceed $1 billion.

This pairing of competitors is viewed in some quarters as an effort to unseat fast-
moving storage vendor EMC.

"Vendors who continue to promote proprietary systems and standards will find
themselves increasingly isolated," said Linda Sanford, General Manager, IBM Storage
Subsystems Division.

Several market analysts predicted that IT departments will be the beneficiaries of
the move to multivendor interoperability and open standards.

In the first steps of the deal, Compaq will use IBM's Shark enterprise storage servers
and Tivoli Systems's management software with its own portfolio. IBM will use Compaq's
StorageWorks Modular Array storage systems and software, which will include IBM 10,000
RPM hard disk drives, as well as supporting Compaq's VersaStor technology for SAN
storage.

"In the age of the Internet, no one can do it all," said Compaq President and CEO
Michael Capellas, "This is the first time that two large storage providers have agreed
to endorse a common set of interoperability standards. Both sets of products from both
companies will have the ability to interoperate and this has tremendous value for the
customers."

The two companies also plan to provide equipment, software and staffing to support each
other's storage networking customer centers. The customer centers will also allow the
companies to demonstrate the products' interoperability to customers.

"What we're doing today literally tells our customers we're going to take the anxiety
out of implementing storage networking," said Nick Donofrio, chairman of IBM's
Corporate Technology Council, and leader of IBM's strategy development for advanced
technology.

Some viewers will see the agreement between the two large computer technology players
as an effort to gain ground on EMC, a company that has enjoyed tremendous success in a
storage systems and software market that IDC Consulting predicts will grow to total $53
billion by 2003.

"At the end of the day, both companies want to be more successful competing against
EMC," said John McArthur, IDC's vice president for storage research in Framingham, Mass.

"EMC has the banner of openness when it comes to platform support, added McArthur, who
said EMC's storage management software should be viewed as proprietary.

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