Starting last year, Compaq Computer Corp. has been pushing, mostly through partnerships, to build a global, on-demand IP storage network.
Last week, the Houston-based company took another step toward the network when it bought service provider technology from startup Storability Inc.
The deal, made by Compaqs Global Services division, gives the company a copy of Storabilitys turnkey Assured Storage Management System. Consequently, Compaq will begin publicizing details of a storage service "in the near future," said Ray Wilkes, director of Compaq Managed Services, in Littleton, Mass. Wilkes declined to elaborate, but that announcement could come as soon as months end, according to Storability officials.
"Compaqs recognized the need to partner with startups to get the job done," said Jamie Gruener, an analyst with The Yankee Group, in Boston.
In the second half of last year, Compaq announced deals with storage startups Atempo Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., and LiveVault Corp., of Marlboro, Mass.
But "Compaq still needs to think about how theyre going to do the end-to-end part of it," Gruener said.
In August, Compaq announced plans to build IP networks extending Fibre Channel connections across metropolitan areas this year and hybrid versions of that in 2003.
By 2004, the company said it expects to have full-IP global storage networks.
In addition to helping Compaqs professional services and enterprise storage departments with those plans, the deal could also help with multivendor support because Storabilitys product is largely technology-neutral, Wilkes said.
Noting the deal late last year to share APIs with rival EMC Corp., Compaq has set a good example for storage standards openness, according to industry experts.
"This gives us what we need for now and what we feel was missing," Wilkes said.
For Storability, the nonexclusive deal is worth $3 million to $5 million over two years, according to officials with the Southboro, Mass., company.
Storability engineers are making cosmetic changes to the application on Compaqs behalf, are porting it to Compaq servers and will provide third- level technical support.
Larger companies such as Houston-based BMC Software Inc., Veritas Software Corp., of Mountain View, Calif., and StorageNetworks Inc., of Waltham, Mass., also bid for Compaqs business, Storability officials said.