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Mark Lewis: Page 5 of 15

We support all the major UNIX platforms, including Linux. We support NT across the board, and do specific testing on the major NT supplier platforms as well. For example, we bring HP servers and Dell servers into the labs to make sure there is nothing unique about those servers.

Byte and Switch: Do any particular platforms present more interoperability issues than others?

Lewis: Each has its advantages and disadvantages. I don't think I'll name any names, but in getting support from certain suppliers, there are some operating systems that are fairly open in understanding how they operate and what they do, and there are one or two that work a little harder at being a little more closed about how you interact with that operating system. I think there is a general push to be more open, particularly at this interface layer. Customers are starting to push vendors to open up more there.

Byte and Switch: What does the Compaq interoperability-testing budget look like? You must spend a ton of money on this.

Lewis: Even before you look at the capital, it is definitely many millions of dollars. I'm not going to provide any specific number, but it's a lot. We're hoping it will get easier. Storage networking is improving that greatly. We're doing better things with networking to make things more interoperable. We're not just investing in brute-force testing, but we're investing in better specifications, more work with the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) to put in more interoperability groups, more work with the outside groups to develop certification testing, and so forth. In the end, we want to spend less.