New Hardware Broadens Streaming Server Market
RealNetworks announced on Tuesday a deal with Compaq to distribute its RealSystem IQ in Compaq’s server product line, as well as to resell Real's servers to Compaq's customers. RealSystem iQ will be integrated with Compaq's ProLiant server and AlphaServer platforms.
"We are pleased to be teaming with RealNetworks to provide cross-platform digital delivery solutions," said Don Jenkins, vice president of product and solutions marketing for Compaq's High Performance Systems Division. "By combining our high performance systems, such as the AlphaServer system running Tru64 UNIX, and RealNetworks' RealSystem iQ, we will provide our enterprise and telecom customers with an outstanding, quick-to-deploy solution for the delivery of rich media content."
According to Ben Rotholtz, general manager of products and systems at RealNetworks, the company already has a long history partnering with Compaq. "Compaq's tremendous customer base, together with Real's customer base, holds a lot of interesting opportunities," he said.
This new alliance will not be immune from competition, however. At the same time, SGI announced it is releasing the Origin 300, a mid-range, high performance server box the company says is ideal for applications like streaming media. Squarely targeting much of the market Real and Compaq hope to tap with their recent partnership, SGI says that the Real/Compaq deal will be a "tough sell" for customers. "There is no future processor development [in the Alpha line] and little I/O expansion in those platforms," said Addison Snell, product marketing manager for SGI's servers.
These announcements may also impact the budding market for streaming appliances – boxes and software geared specifically for serving streaming media as dedicated systems.
Real's Deal with Compaq
Real and Compaq have been working together for over a year to develop the integrated solution and a related sales and marketing agreement. Compaq will provide its customers with RealNetworks' solutions as a bundle. "A typical Compaq customer has multiple platforms and [they] have been asking for digital media delivery solutions," said Rotholtz.
"It's incredibly timely," he said. "Both companies see a strong need and a fine opportunity to be able to bridge the distance it takes to communicate information and ideas. Given the state of the economy and perceptions about air travel, this is a great area of focus."
Rotholtz said that Compaq is renowned for its systems integration business, which creates end-to-end solutions for corporations. "We're obviously now part of that suite that they can deliver. It gives us a footprint through their sales force," he said.
With the expected merger between Compaq and Hewlett-Packard, RealNetworks may end up getting a good deal. Although Rotholtz said this is a "multi-year" agreement, he didn't reveal the value of the deal. Already, as part of an earlier arrangement, HP acts as a reseller of RealNetworks' products. Rotholtz said that the company also has deals with other computer manufacturers like IBM, Sun and others. He would not discuss any relationships with Dell. "It's not because we don't want to, it's just that I'm not familiar with it," he said.
Apparently, lots of work has gone into testing and porting the technology. The Compaq/Real products will be available immediately, said Rotholtz. Pricing will be determined through Compaq, and will depend on the configuration for each customer.