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Compaq's server strategy still cloaked in mystery

When is an industry standard not an industry standard?

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Enrico Pesatori, a senior VP at Compaq, said today that the company's relationship with Microsoft was of critical importance to the future of the company. And the potential of its Non Stop Computing e-business strategy was as much as $750 billion, said Pesatori in a conference call from New York, New York. He said that Microsoft had a strong relationship with the pre-acquisitive Compaq, with Digital and with Tandem. But Pesatori, while announcing the eight way x.86 Profusion box, describing it as industry-standard, also described the Alpha platform as industry standard too. Whether it is Linux or Windows NT that will be the glue that ties them both together is a moot question which he did not attempt. He said that Compaq still had two server divisions -- one the industry standard, and the other the high end server business. He confirmed that there will be 16, 32 and 64-way Alphas later in the year. The industry standard division is headed up by Mary McDowell, a senior VP at Compaq. She said that the Profusion technology was a joint development between Intel and Compaq, meaning that every SMP machine that ships, from whatever vendor, be it Dell or Unisys, will have Compaq Inside. We have some background to this story which may well shed light on the evolution of x.86 based SMP computing. See, for example, HP beats Compaq to SMP as Big Blue has Corollary coronary. It's also worth looking at this one: Compaq has near coronary with Corollary. Compaq was very, very unhappy that Intel took over Corollary as it scuppered its own SMP plans, which were then separate from the chip giant's. And then we saw the debacle of the late and lamented Pentium Pro, meant to forward the SMP cause in leaps and bounds. None of it really happened. Compaq will market its eight-way Profusion based servers to the high volume Internet market, said McDowell. "No one has been more proactive than Compaq in pushing NT into the enterprise market," she said. And so Intel's tradeoff for cheesing off Compaq was that it could share in designing the SMP technology, while Enrico Pesatori played down the importance of the Alpha to Compaq's strategy in the future, presumably to spare Chipzilla's hurt feelings about Merced. Pesatori, in his presentation, said nothing about the internal reorganisation at Compaq, which he revealed to select analysts yesterday. ® See also Compaq exec re-org: Alpha being pushed hard

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