Portal apps focus on sharing

Compaq computer corp. is banking on a mix of intelligent management software and development partnerships to bolster interoperability, but some customers still question the company's commitment to open SANs.

Compaq computer corp. is banking on a mix of intelligent management software and development partnerships to bolster interoperability, but some customers still question the company's commitment to open SANs.

The Houston-based company is set to add to its growing list of alliances this week with a deal with Prisa Networks Inc. to co-develop software that maps open storage area network topology and performs diagnostic tests. By the end of the year, Compaq will offer the software as part of its SANworks portfolio and as the base code for its SANworks Management Appliance.

Compaq officials contend that intelligent software on a SAN appliance is the key to making storage more efficient and to improving interopera bility.

In the same vein, Compaq last week opened the doors to its new $7 million, 22,000-square-foot Enterprise Storage Customer Center here. The ESCC serves as a customer training center as well as a "boot camp" for employees.

Included in the ESCC is Compaq's Network Storage Interoperability lab, which will contain IBM's Enterprise Storage Server; Sun Microsystems Inc.'s E10000; and products from EMC Corp., Brocade Commu nication Systems Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co., to name a few.

Next door to the ESCC, the Storage Networking Industry Association is constructing on Compaq land its own interoperability lab, which is due to open later this year.

"We really wanted to jump-start this interoperability lab for our customers' benefit," said Howard Elias, Compaq's vice president and general manager for the storage products division. "We are stepping up our activity at SNIA."

But some industry insiders say Compaq's mission toward open SANs is really about making its own flavor of interoperability the de facto standard.

"What has their commitment been ... to the products and to SNIA? Where have they been at the meetings?" asked Rick Bauer, a member of the SNIA Advisory Council and CIO at The Hill School, in Pottstown, Pa. "Anyone who has ever managed a Compaq server farm knows that life is beautiful as long as you stay within Compaq products."

Compaq officials said the alliance with San Diego-based Prisa is just the beginning of a continuing effort toward storage interoperability.

"We are talking to all the other vendors in the storage industry, addressing most of the big players and even some of the smaller ones," said Ryan Johnson, Compaq's director of engineering for the enterprise storage software business unit. ´ By Grant Du Bois

New and enhanced portal software from PeopleSoft Inc. and Plumtree Software Inc. is increasing customers' ability to integrate dynamic content, Internet services and enterprise applications and share that information.

The latest entrant in a crowded enterprise portal field, PeopleSoft plans to announce next month PeopleSoft Enterprise Portals, which comprises an enterprise portal and a suite of three applications to increase collaboration among e-commerce customers, suppliers and corporate em ployees.

The portal offering, due in the fourth quarter, will span enterprise functions including customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning, business services, financial reporting and human resources management, said officials from the Pleasanton, Calif., company.

Cybex International Inc. is "very interested" in deploying PeopleSoft Enterprise Portals, said Brian Lyman, manager of e-commerce for the Medway, Mass., maker of high-end exercise equipment.

"Buyers could personalize their own Web page linked into us," Lyman said. "It's like a MyYahoo.com. [Buyers] could have their five most recent orders listed on the portal as well as fitness articles."

Separately, San Francisco-based Plumtree plans to introduce and ship in October Corporate Portal 4.0, which enables enterprises to add and integrate more applications and services for users.

In addition to expanding the types of content syndicated, the upgrade also supports content on mobile devices and enables partners to distribute plug-ins for embedding applications into personalized portal pages.