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Compaq outlines future of storage

It wants to be a utility, like gas, water or electricity

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A giant PC company has spelt out its vision of the future for IT managers, in which they have to plug their servers, for storage, into a utility company called Compaq. Speaking at a press conference in central London this morning, Donal Madden, head of product marketing of storage at Compaq UK, outlined his company's vision of the future. According to Madden: "We are now the largest storage vendor on the planet. We can no longer hold onto the coat tails of our ProLiant range on storage." He said that Eckhard Pfeiffer, CEO of Compaq, had realised in 1997 that while it shipped lots of storage products with its servers, that amounted to more than the value of its Proliants. Madden said: "We're moving to storage as a utility like electricity, phones or water." He said: "We want to get to a stage where you can just plug a server into a wall and get unlimited storage." But asked whether storage was safe in Compaq's hands, James Stevenson, director of the enterprise server group at Compaq UK, admitted there was a problem with the metaphor. Stevenson said: "We're not exactly saying that Compaq will hold all the storage within its data banks." Stevenson admitted that most IT managers would prefer to keep their storage in-house and buy solutions from a number of vendors. Madden had said: "We're not bull-shitting like our competitors. We are not being God. People like EMC will say: 'You have sinned but you can repent.'" According to Stevenson, Compaq's slide which showed a lightbulb, a faucet and a three-pin power socket was not what the company was trying to say. Meanwhile, Madden insisted that his company's Enterprise Network Storage Architecture (ENSA), which includes deals with putative IBM mainframe players would allow Compaq to deliver results from the smallest PC server to the greatest. Madden said that by 2002, people would be able to get storage just by plugging their servers into a wall. ®

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