When former storage rivals IBM and Compaq Computer agreed last July to bury the hatchet and couple their storage offerings, many industry observers were quick to point out that the arrangement merely augmented parts of each company's storage offerings with badly needed technology from the other.
Now, as the first new products from the arrangement begin to arrive, that appears to be true.
Against the backdrop of the 10th annual International Storage System Symposium in San Diego, IBM will next week unveil its Modular Storage Server, which is heavily rooted in Compaq's MA 8000 modular storage array, according to Mike Harrison, the director of storage alliances for IBM.
Available in September, Modular Storage Server includes enhancements to Compaq's technology such as IBM's hard disk and racking expertise, Harrison said. Scalable to more than 4.5TB of storage, Modular Storage Server will be available with 18-, 36-, or 72GB disk drives.
With the introduction of this system, IBM gains ground in Compaq's successful lower-end Intel and Unix-based storage markets, said Harrison.
Compaq, which has lacked a storage solution that attaches to IBM's S/390 server line, will make an announcement sometime in the coming weeks of what Harrison called "a new Shark-style product" that will fill that gap. Shark is the name of an IBM enterprise storage server.
Following these first initial product offerings, both IBM and Compaq "will begin working together at a software implementation level, so all the technology that IBM has will mesh with and work with other products under development" by the two companies, said Harrison.
"This is the most far-reaching alliance and agreement with the widest scope and longest outlook from a strategic point of view that I have seen," said Harrison, who added that while Compaq and IBM haven't disclosed the particulars of their agreement, the plan is for a "long and fruitful relationship."
"And we're looking for other players," said Harrison, naming EMC and Veritas Software as companies that have already "been in touch" with IBM.