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Compaq in server deal with Unisys

Compaq will likely rely on another computer company for its most powerful Windows 2000 machines instead of building its own, sources say.

    Compaq will likely rely on another computer company for its most powerful Windows 2000 machines instead of building its own, sources said today.

    Compaq has cut a deal with Unisys for 32-processor server computers running Windows 2000, said sources familiar with the deal. Under terms of the agreement, Compaq will resell the servers under its brand but Unisys will make them. Compaq's chief executive Michael Capellas will announce the plan at a keynote address tonight in San Francisco, sources said.

    Compaq refused to comment.

    Blue Bell, Penn.-based Unisys has been developing the technology behind the servers for more than two years. They will run Windows 2000 Data Center, which is expected to ship in about 120 days.

    The deal could be a big boost for Windows 2000 as it competes alongside large Unix servers from Sun and other computer makers.

    The arrangement also gives Compaq a foothold against IBM, which in September acquired Sequent. Sequent makes a competing technology to that used by Unisys, which IBM has been quickly integrating in its server products. Called non-uniform memory architecture, or NUMA, the server architecture scales up to 64 processors with plans of 256-processor support.

    Unisys' server technology brings its own strengths, such as the ability to run disparate operating systems, such as Windows 2000 and Unix, on the same system. This could be attractive to larger corporations looking for an inexpensive way of supporting existing Unix installations, while investing in a server running Windows 2000.

    The deal is potentially a big boost for Unisys, which has an attractive technology but doesn't move large volumes of servers, an area where Compaq excels. In 1999, the Houston-based computer maker accounted for 31 percent of all server revenue, according to International Data Corp.

    Capellas is scheduled to deliver his keynote at 6:30 p.m. PST this evening, as part of the three-day Windows 2000 launch event.