Compaq to bundle SQL Server with some ProLiants

Compaq is to bundle Microsoft's SQL Server database software in a deal that brings the number one PC vendor and number one independent software vendor closer together than ever.

Compaq will offer a 10-client copy of SQL Server with ProLiant 2500, 5000 and 6000 servers in a free, limited offer that runs out at the end of the year. The product will become part of Compaq's SmartStart server configuration suite. Microsoft said 10-user copies of the software usually retail for £1,300.

"It's very much a joint agreement," said Karen Green, SQL Server product marketing manager at Microsoft. "They wanted a one-stop shop that was wider than what they previously offered. There will be a $1 million joint-marketing fund for learning skills and working together with application vendors."

Green said that the deal was more than "just a bundle", claiming that Compaq has optimised its systems to take advantage of SQL Server, and said that there is a demand for an off-the-peg database package which is ready to go with the server.

"[A server database] is not an impulse purchase but a lot of medium-sized organisations need a mission-critical server but don't necessarily want to learn every last detail of the software," she said.

Separately, Green said that SQL Server was making giant strides. "We have more than doubled sales annually for three years and, as long as NT keeps growing, we have a strong foothold."

Prices start at £7,310 for the 200MHz Pentium Pro-based ProLiant 2500 tower case model.