The computer maker today announced a test-drive program for
software developers interested in its hardware and software.
Under the program, developers can try out Compaq hardware and software over
the Web rather than get their hands on their own products, said
Carl Ramsey, worldwide director of the Compaq Solutions Alliance.
The program is part of Compaq's effort to make sure software is available
to run on its systems. That's essential, especially given that corporate
customers typically choose what software they want to run before they
choose the system it runs on. In a similar vein, IBM has "solution
partnership centers" where software companies can come try out the latest
Compaq launched the Web site in July on a limited basis with an average 2,500
test drivers a week trying out their software on various operating systems,
including Linux, Tru64 Unix, and OpenVMS. Initially, only about 2,500
CSA members could access the site.
"The CSA program is really a combination of the [software]
marketing programs that Compaq, Digital, and Tandem had," said Lindy
Lesperance, analyst with Technology Business
Research. "This is just giving developers more, an opportunity to go
out and actually test the different platforms."
The New Technologies Test Drive program, as it is called, does have its
limitations. The program is not designed for benchmarking software
applications because of the way Compaq's Web servers handle Internet
"By providing both ProLiant- and Alpha-based, and even Himalaya-based,
systems on this network for people to try, we believe once they see the
performance of these platforms they will want to develop and deploy
applications for them," said Ramsey.
Compaq doesn't currently track operating system popularity but plans to do
so later. The data could use this for planning the future of Tru64 Unix
and OpenVMS, and expanding support for Linux.
"A critical mass of applications is essential to the success of any
platform," said Ramsey.
Compaq has long courted ISVs, recognizing the importance of optimizing their
software applications for Compaq's hardware systems. Software developers can
also be instrumental in convincing customers which company's systems are
best for its applications.