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Mark Lewis: Page 3 of 15

Vaulting into the Virtual

Protocols and the Future

Byte and Switch: Through its various mergers and acquisitions over the years, Compaq has one of the broadest product lines around. To what extent have you been able to maintain cross-platform interoperability for storage networking products within your various product families, and how do you manage the process?

Mark Lewis: We've done very well in that respect. Since the [Compaq and Digital] merger we had various high-end products, entry to mid-range products, and truly integrated the organization and got traction that way. The good news, and it goes to our ability to support across both Compaq platforms and those of other vendors, is that we have developed a heterogeneous product line. While EMC has done a good job in this area, too, as server suppliers go, when you look at

Hewlett-Packard Co. [NYSE: HWP]
or
IBM Corp. [NYSE: IBM]
or Sun, these other companies are really struggling to support even their own platforms. We are not only supporting our own systems, but also
Dell Computer Corp. [Nasdaq: DELL]
and other NT systems, Solaris, AIX, HP/UX as well.

Process-wise, we constantly work to improve this process, because it costs real money to have Sun expertise, the HP expertise, and Tru64 and VMS expertise, at least to some degree within the storage group to build storage systems. I don't think we have any huge secret in how we do this, but suffice it to say you have to spend money, build labs, and build expertise. It does not come free. If folks aren't willing to pony up to some serious investment, it's going to be difficult for them to support the number of platforms we do.