Rivals Compaq, EMC Promote Storage Interoperability - EnterpriseStorageForum.com

Rivals Compaq, EMC Promote Storage Interoperability

Normally fierce rivals Compaq Computer Corp. and EMC Corp. loosened up a bit Thursday when they agreed to cross license storage system application programming interfaces (APIs).

The deal means each firm will work on creating storage management applications capable of managing both firms' storage disk systems. APIs are methods by which a programmer writing an application program can make requests of an operating system or some other application.

The companies will also define cooperative support levels so that users of the new storage management products can be assured that each vendor will provide support for its configurations.

Mark Sorenson, vice president of Compaq Enterprise Storage Group's solutions and software division, said the deal was spawned by customer requests for better interoperability among even competing storage lines.

"The licensing of these APIs will enable both companies to tightly integrate storage and storage management products for the benefit of their customers," Sorenson said in a public statement.

The deal between Houston-based Compaq and Hopkinton, Mass.'s EMC underscores a trend in high-tech whereby competitors often undercut each other one week and work together the next. This grin and bear it environment is indicative of the tough economic times as, more than ever, firms in sectors where multiple vendors joust for market position find it vital to give customers what they want.

Of course, all of the firms, including other competing storage vendors like Hitachi Data Systems, IBM Corp. and Dell Computer Corp., are inking these deals in the present with an eye toward the future of what should be a very ripe storage market by 2005, according to market research firm IDC.

IDC said it expects worldwide storage software market revenues to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.4 percent, from $5.47 billion in 2000 to $10.7 billion in 2005. And while the outfit said the backup and archive software market is mature, "it will continue to have significant innovation."

Managed storage services will be a winner, too, according to research firm Gartner Inc. In fact, the firm said 80 percent of external storage will be networked by 2005.

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