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Compaq Kicks Off E-Business Initiative

HOUSTON -- In a keynote delivered at Compaq Computer Corp.'s Innovate Forum today, Compaq president and CEO Eckhard Pfeiffer unveiled a strategy to support what it terms "NonStop eBusiness."

The initiative focuses heavily on helping customers to increase the availability and uptime of their Web e-business sites. The initiative is said to include all of Compaq's disparate operating systems, including OpenVMS, Tru64 Unix, the Tandem NSK non-stop operating system, as well as Windows NT.

"The Internet will be an integral part of virtually everything you do," observed Pfeiffer. "In the 24x7x365 world of the Internet, downtime is not an option."

John Rose, senior vice president and group manager of Compaq's enterprise computing group, says that for NT users, the heart of the initiative will be to build on last September's Compaq-Microsoft alliance to boost Windows NT/2000 reliability and availability. In that announcement, Compaq and Microsoft promised that high-availability technologies from the Tandem NSK operating system and OpenVMS would be integrated into future versions of Windows technology, including and beyond the Windows 2000 release. "Those technologies and capabilities we acquired with Tandem -- a lot of that [reliability] capability is in the hardening of the operating systems, and in the database," says Rose.

One issue: How will Compaq differentiate itself from e-business initiatives by competitors such as IBM Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co.? Rose responds, "We provide complete solutions of products and systems today for various elements of customers' e-businesses. One of the other key differentiators is we're taking the technology and know-how, and driving it on a broader scale to industry standards." He contends driving Tandem NKS and OpenVMS technology into NT as accomplishing that goal. "That's a different strategy than IBM or HP. It's very much driving industry standards, and making it more cost effective."

Users were generally encouraged by the prospect of boosting NT reliability. After seeing the keynote presentation, Mickey Schexnayder, who is with the IT department of Jacobs Engineering Group, an engineering, construction and maintenance firm, said the 24x7 potential for Windows NT offers tangible and attractive benefits for his company. Jacobs Engineering has offices around the world and runs some of its print/file and groupware, and most of its engineering applications on Windows NT. "Our philosophy is that we'd like to get to the point of doing a project here in the United States and work with our offices [overseas]." Ideally, this would allow a project to follow the workday around the world. But for now, the need for 24x7 electronic business remains more distant. He cites nagging security concerns that present unacceptable risks for the large clients that contract with Jacobs Engineering. -- Al Gillen, Editor in Chief

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.