Compaq, IBM part ways on storage pact

Compaq Computer Corp. will offer users its own high-end storage box instead of IBM Corp.’s popular Shark Enterprise Storage System, as the two companies part ways on a reseller agreement.

For more than a year the two companies have collaborated in the storage market, with IBM selling Compaq’s MA8000 mid-level SAN (storage area network) product and Compaq hawking IBM’s Shark system. The companies decided to end their storage pact earlier this week and rely instead on products developed in-house, said IBM spokesman Chris Andrews.

They will continue to work on ensuring compatibility between their server and storage products, he added.

IBM released several mid-range storage products this week and will look to use those and other products to do battle in the competitive mid-range market. Instead of Compaq’s MA8000 it will pitch to customers its Fast T700 storage server, which uses 2GB Fibre Channel technology and has the capacity to scale from 36GB to 16TB of data, according to IBM.

Compaq also recently upgraded its storage line with the introduction of its high-end Enterprise Virtual Array, which was designed to take Shark’s place, said Roger Archibald, general manager of Compaq’s Enterprise Storage Array division.

“Customers prefer to buy storage products directly from the companies who design and manufacture them,” Archibald said. “The Enterprise Storage Array really replaces any need we had in our product line for the Shark product.”

Compaq began notifying large customers of its pending move away from IBM about six months ago. While Shark has been popular with users, Compaq claimed it will be cheaper and easier for Compaq server users to purchase its own storage.

IBM did not sell as many MA8000 systems as it had hoped, Archibald said, so the companies will narrow their focus to ensuring their products work together. “The interoperability work we have done has been the most successful part of the relationship,” he said.