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Compaq wants in on the Unix market

Compaq is launching a wide-ranging campaign to beef up sales of its high-end, 64-bit Alpha servers running the Digital Unix operating system.

by Jana Sanchez

(IDG) -- Compaq Computer Corp. wants to be to the Unix market what it is to the Windows NT market, company officials said earlier this week.

To do that, the company is launching a wide-ranging campaign to beef up sales of its high-end, 64-bit Alpha servers running the Digital Unix operating system.

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The campaign, which includes rebranding Digital Unix and launching new Alpha-based server products, is Compaq's latest effort to grow Unix market share. The company sees this as the area of "strongest absolute growth," in terms of information technology spending by corporations, said Tom Yeates, Digital's business development manager for OpenVMS in Europe. Worldwide, Unix is seeing about 20% revenue growth, he said.

Starting Feb. 1, Digital Unix offerings will be known as Compaq Tru64 Unix. Digital Unix is among the operating systems that Compaq inherited when it took over Digital Equipment last year. The Compaq Tru64 Unix brand will be extended to cover future server products, Yeates said.

As part of the strategy, Compaq is officially announcing the AlphaServer DS20, an "entry-level" Unix server that runs on the Alpha processor but is priced at less than $20,000, Yeates said. "We expect it to be used heavily as an entry-level intranet and Internet server," he said.

The DS20 can support up to two 500-MHz Alpha processors and comes with a maximum of 4G bytes of memory. Compaq quietly started shipping the product last month, and it is being used as an entry-level commercial server and as a technical server for mechanical modeling, Yeates said.

Moving from the NT server field to Unix, as Compaq intends to do, won't result in a mixed sales pitch from the company, Yeates said. "We are selling with a consistent message. It's not one-size-fits-all," he said. The same clients who are purchasing NT-based servers for some client and application servers are sticking with Unix for business-critical applications, Yeates said.

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