Storage company EMC admitted this week that Compaq is now the greatest threat to its market position.
It claimed its more traditional rivals, IBM, Hitachi and Sun, are lagging behind in terms of sales and technology.
Robert Dutkowsky, executive vice president of markets and channels at EMC US, revealed that his company was set to double its assembly capability at its centres in Hopkinton, Massachusetts and Cork, Ireland.
He said: "Our long term competition will be Compaq but they have a lot to sort out. Compaq CEO Eckhard Pfeiffer's got four platforms. I have one."
Dutkowsky, an ex-IBMer himself, said that EMC rarely pitched against Big Blue these days. "The competition I see most often are Hitachi, Sun and some Storagetek," he said. "Hitachi is a hardware copycat, It copied IBM storage until IBM lost the lead in storage, and then they copied us."
Sun, which acquired storage company Encore last year, had a different problem, he claimed. "It buys Encore and now is going to tell the Unix salesforce to go out to mainframe sites and sell that rather than Unix boxes. [Sun CEO] McNealy thinks NT is the devil."
By contrast, Dukowsky believes the Windows NT market is a potentially lucrative area for EMC. "Today's average sale for Unix machines is 1Tbyte. In a few years from now, the average NT system will be a 1Tbyte system too."
He added: "NT will start out distributed but rapidly go back to the warmth of the data centre. We see that pressure to consolidate as the number one driver in our business. Enterprises are built round mainframes and applications and a chief financial officer will say 'I see NT coming, but it has to be an integrated part of the enterprise.'"
He believes NT will take off in the collaborative space, with corporations using it on database machines in conjunction with, for example, SAP software.
Dutkowsky said that EMC will open a new 700,000-square foot assembly operation close to its current Hopkinton site in the fourth quarter of this year, while its Cork plant will also double in size by the year end.
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