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Compaq forms storage deals

Compaq announces two new partnerships aimed at developing high-end storage technologies for businesses, one with HP and one with Seagate.

Compaq Computer (CPQ) today announced two new partnerships aimed at developing high-end storage technologies for businesses.

One agreement, with Hewlett-Packard (HWP), allows the HP Components Group to license Compaq's Fibre Channel hardware technology. In an instance of mutual high-tech backscratching, the Compaq hardware that HP will use already features HP's Tachyon Fibre Channel chip.

Fibre channel is a high-speed data transfer technology, typically used for transferring data in large clusters of hard drives that store data for the central server computer.

IDC analyst Robert Gray hailed the HP partnership as one that would help not only the companies, but the prevalence of fibre channel storage technology.

"Having the two companies team up like this will put pressure on the second-tier vendors to come up with a something comparable," he said. "The partnership will drive end-user demand, whereas until now fibre channel storage has been a technology without a home."

The other agreement announced today, between Compaq and Seagate Technology subsidiary Seagate Software, will result in coordinated development, marketing, and delivery of storage solutions. But the companies have not decided on any specific products or any timetable for delivery.

"The partnership will be an ongoing thing," said Compaq spokesperson Jim Cortese. "They're at the stage now where they're trying to figure out exactly what kinds of projects they're going to be working on."

Today's deals come as part of Compaq's strategy to partner with storage companies in order to collaborate on integrating storage solutions. Late last year the company formed an alliance with Computer Associates subsidiary Cheyenne Software to ensure Compaq server support of version 6.5 of Cheyenne's Arcserve storage management software for tape drives.

"It's our general strategic philosophy to have an open-vendor policy," said Cortese. "It means the products will have higher value because a lot of work in integrating the products is done beforehand, so when the customer buys combined products, a year or so of work will have gone into making them work perfectly together."

In related news, Compaq said that based on data from IDC, it expects by year's end to have become the second-largest supplier of multiuser storage systems in the world, behind IBM.