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.

For EMC, the deal pad its WideSky initiative that was announced last week. EMC’s new strategy is to translate commands and data from a variety of hardware and software products and serve as a development platform for building storage applications.

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 is the peaceful side a trend in high-tech whereby competitors often sting
each other one month 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 and will work with rivals to provide it.

EMC has been looking to ally as of late. As an industry leader, EMC has been the subject of much acquisition talk and many large high-tech firms have tried to topple it in recent months. Two weeks ago, it penned a multi-billion-dollar co-branding pact with Dell Computer Corp., a relative latecomer to the storage market.

Others have been more aggressive toward one another recently. Dell on Monday dumped storage systems made by Quantum for its own systems, and Compaq and IBM Corp.
dumped each other’s products last week.

Of course, all of the firms 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 firms.

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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