Compaq targets utility computing

Compaq Computer Corp. is pushing storage, thin client standardization, and the benefits of measured server usage as the next phase of its Computing on Demand initiative.

On Monday, Compaq will announce that its “pay-as-you-use” utility computing model will extend to new storage, server, and access programs.

Under the Computing on Demand program, Compaq provides resource headroom to customers by way of extra computer systems that are attached to a customer’s network, but only turned on and paid for as they are activated.

Compaq’s Capacity on Demand – Managed Storage, will provide storage on demand across multivendor platforms, said Joe Hogan, worldwide managing principal at Compaq Global Services. The service will be available within six weeks.

Also, Access on Demand – Thin Client Package, introduces a thin-client element for users to standardize and tie in access to a server environment, Hogan said. Lastly, Capacity on Demand for ProLiant Servers – Pay Per Use, allows customers to measure services usage to increase or decrease capacity based on business need.

Compaq’s Computing on Demand program can also help customers to consolidate and better manage their server resources, said Hogan.

“One of the things that happens in companies is servers quickly proliferate. They have them in closets, in the data center, and we can come in with a very quick assessment on how to consolidate it,” said Hogan.

Last summer, Houston-based Compaq introduced its utility computing strategy to tie installation and technical support services to its sales of PCs, servers, and storage and handheld devices. Joining similar aggressive services announcements made by Hewlett-Packard and IBM, Compaq sees pay-as-you-use pricing and performance levels for overhead capacity as vital for large corporate customers to maximize resources and IT infrastructure.

Roger Kay, an industry analyst at Framingham, Mass.-based International Data Corp., said Compaq had to evaluate its own risks and be careful it could fulfill potential demand and availability.

Kay also said other issues needed closure, including whether Compaq would preship equipment, bring it online when needed, and take it back if capacity declined.

Despite sluggish corporate demand and a degree of caution in enterprise buying, Kay said that utility computing is a boon for customers. “If you want to scale your computing plan to your demand, being able to do it more or less as a spigot is a good thing,” Kay said.

Compaq Canada in Richmond Hill, Ont., is at