Compaq Computer Corp yesterday unveiled plans to aggressively invest in its data storage system division, as well as release a raft of new products and services, as part of the company’s increasing effort to expand its offerings in the enterprise computer market. Industry analysts and pundits agree that the storage market is hotting up, fueled by the explosion of internet-related data, and hardware vendors that are tripping over themselves to get a slice of the pie. According to analyst firm IDC, storage will increasingly become a strategic part of server sales, and vendors currently in the market will seek to capitalize on it. Under the strategy, Bob Schultz, Compaq’s director of server storage systems, said the company will focus on developing products targeted at three product segments. A server storage group will concentrate on internal server storage while a multi-vendor storage group will focus on standalone storage units. Business critical storage systems, a new product area for Compaq, will target data centers. IDC predicts storage will be a $35.6bn industry by 2000, Shultz said. Through its acquisition of Digital, Compaq currently owns 22% of that market and we intend to maintain that position and grow it. At the moment, Compaq only focuses on server storage systems for its own brand, the Proliant range, of servers. Digital Equipment Corp’s products – now Compaq’s – will enable it to expand into the multi-vendor and high-end storage markets. From here on in the two companies’ products will be integrated in the same roadmap, Shultz said. He added that the Digital acquisition would also give Compaq a whole raft of professional sales and services to offer its customers. In terms of future products, Shultz said Compaq would gradually introduce products designed to work in fibre channel, storage area networks (SANs). He said the company had already introduced its first fibre channel offerings that enable its server disk subsystems to run on a SAN. The second step, to be introduced by the end of the fourth quarter, will be to add fibre channel connectivity to its tape libraries, he said.