Compaq's Pesatori outlines future network strategy

Ex-DEC guy claims the Big Q has the edge

Interview Enrico Pesatori, senior VP in charge of the Compaq enterprise division, set out his thoughts today on how the company will grow its server business in the future, and also discussed its reasons for dropping its development of NT on the Alpha platform. In an interview with The Register this afternoon, Pesatori said that Compaq's relationship with Microsoft, which includes past relationships from the Tandem and Digital days, put the company in a unique position to leverage its server business. Pesatori said: "The strategy is right on. We have formidable assets and all we need to do is execute on that. [One of] the biggest strengths we have is to extend the ProLiant line and introduce Task Smart application servers, which provide a single function and will speed up Web access by a factor of ten. We'll be even more aggressive on the low end." He said that Compaq currently has over 50 per cent of the four way Intel server market, and 80 per cent of the eight way 32-bit server market. One main reason for that was because of Compaq's very relationship with Corollary, before it was acquired by Intel. That gave it the development edge on the IA-32 technology. It was already working to ensure that when the Intel Foster technology is released it could use its clustering know-how to offer advanced systems, in conjunction with storage area networks (SANs), well in advance of its competitors. "You will see there is a very good synchronicity with Microsoft to push this market share higher and higher. This is why Windows 2000 is so important to us." He said that Microsoft and Compaq will cooperate to offer enterprise level data centre W2k solutions as early as April. He said that because Tandem and Microsoft had cooperated so closely on clustering technology, Compaq was able to leverage that technology both in the Intel server and in the Himalaya and Alpha arena. He said that storage was the second major driver of increased growth for his division, which accounts for over half of Compaq's revenues. Alpha Wildfire high end servers will be first seeded into key Compaq accounts in March, Pesatori said. "We'll ramp up production in May and June and full production will start in Q3 and Q4." He anticipated that Compaq will receive $1 billion in revenues from Wildfire by the end of this year. He said that claims by Compaq's competition, notably HP, that the company did not have a scaleable solution, were groundless and that it had extended its PA-RISC architecture by a further three years to ensure its revenue streams were intact, after IA-64 failed to ship in volume this year, as originally anticipated by HP. "We're not artifically going to push the Alpha platform," he said. A major reason that Compaq had decided to cease development of NT for the Alpha was because of its up-coming partnership with Microsoft on the Windows 2000 platform and because the company did not want to confuse its customers. Those corporations which had started to go down the Alpha NT route were re-assured by the steps Compaq took to ameliorate the situation, he said. Further, Compaq wanted to clearly differentiate its platform offerings, he said. He claimed that the company held a 30 per cent market share in Linux on Alpha systems. ®

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