A library that had received proposals from vendors of automated library systems recently asked whether it should consider a vendor that had bid Compaq Alpha hardware because the library was under the impression that Sun and Hewlett-Packard, the hardware products, offered by all the other vendors, were much stronger players in the server market. The response was two-fold:
- If the vendor of the automated library system is willing to guarantee reliability and response times for at least five years-as long as the library keeps the system under maintenance— any one of several hardware platforms is a safe choice. The important thing is that the hardware platform is one with which the vendor is familiar and is regularly bid by it.
- Rumors about Compaq once again becoming a PC company are not reliable. IDC, a major market research -company recently reported worldwide server revenues for 1999. IBM led the market with $13.2 billion in sales, Compaq was second with $8.4 billion, and Hewlett-Packard and Sun followed with $8.2 and $7.2 million respectively. And what of Dell? It ranked fifth with server sales of $2.6 billion.
Hewlett-Packard and Sun hardware are favored but that's no reason for a library to reject an otherwise attractive proposal because it uses the hardware platform from Compaq or from IBM—or even Dell for smaller systems.