By Tom Henkel
The long-anticipated--and several times delayed--release of AlphaServer GS, code-named Wildfire, will be welcomed among loyal Compaq Computer Tru64 and OpenVMS customers. The new servers provide much-needed performance growth and scalability.
Demand from existing customers will dominate early shipments of the AlphaServer GS line and will enhance its contribution to Compaq's bottom line.
But for the product line to substantially boost its competitive standing in the midrange server market--particularly against tough Unix competitors Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard and IBM--Compaq must successfully leverage the AlphaServer GS to capture the attention of new server accounts.
So far, Gartner has not seen much enthusiasm for the product line outside of the Compaq existing customers. In discussions with Gartner clients regarding their short lists for server selection, Sun and HP, each contenders on about 80 percent of the short lists, and IBM, on about 60 percent, remain the market leaders. Compaq is on only about 10 percent of Gartner clients' short lists and even fewer for new-business sales situations.
If Compaq hopes to improve enthusiasm surrounding the AlphaServer GS family in the Unix and midrange market, it must motivate its sales and marketing organizations to be more aggressive against Sun, IBM and HP--particularly for new accounts and applications.
Equally important, Compaq must demonstrate renewed customer enthusiasm for AlphaServer to substantially improve the willingness of independent software vendors to view Tru64 Unix and OpenVMS as viable platforms for their software.
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