While most networking vendors are focused on the coming together of voice and data, Compaq is betting on a convergence between computing and communications.
"Why Compaq for networking?" said John Ardini, Compaq's vice president of networking programs, in Sydney last week to position Compaq's networking strategy to customers and partners.
"Because Compaq is about more than networking. When customers look at networking today, they look at more than just the network in isolation. They look at the relationship of the network to servers, desktops, storage and applications," he said.
"There is really a blurring of the lines between computing and communications, especially when it comes to the decision-making process. Traditionally, they have been separate decisions made by different departments, but now the customer really wants to hear about a total solution."
Restructured and axed
Earlier this year, Compaq restructured and axed the network division as a separate entity, moving the NICs and access products into the PC and server group, while its hubs, switches and so forth became a part of the enterprise computing group. According to Ardini, this was wrongly interpreted as Compaq "backing away from our commitment to networking".
"That's definitely not the case," said Ardini. "We're about delivering an end-to-end solution for the enterprise and to do that we need to deliver networks."
As Compaq moves forward, its development efforts will be focused on integrating its network and server platforms together, so as to optimise application performance and ease the management between the two.
"A network company only thinks about the network, they only let you optimise for the network," Ardini said. But to truly optimise performance, the server and network need to work together and need to be managed under the one platform, he said.
Ardini admitted Compaq would use proprietary technology to do this "because the reality is the standards we need just aren't there today".
Compaq's network integration business will go to market with a new worldwide methodology, which centres around building a network architecture that grows and changes with the customer's business.
Dubbed "Next Generation Networks" the Compaq framework incorporates offerings from a raft of vendors including Microsoft, Cisco, Nortel, Novell, Picturetel, AltaVista, Check Point, Computer Associates, Tivoli and BMC, said Compaq Services director Les Davey.
"So if a customer wants voice over IP, for example, we've already done all the work with our partners to ensure we can rapidly and reliably roll that out," he said.
Broken down into four distinct objectives, comprising Internet network services, network transport, management, and security, Compaq is offering a series of new services in Australia. Next Generation Networks CIO Workshop, Next Generation Network Audit, Baselining and Assessment Services, Directory Enabled Networks, Planning and Implementation Services for Microsoft Site Server Unified Messaging, Voice over IP pilot Service, Video Conferencing and Collaboration Solutions are all available immediately.