IBM Unveils Program To Woo Customers From EMC Arrays

IBM executives last week unveiled a program consisting of a new storage appliance and a series of services aimed at helping customers seamlessly move their data from EMC technology to IBM technology. The migration program will be implemented by its IBM Global Services team and its solution providers, IBM said.

Despite the focus on a seamless migration from one vendor to the other, trying to get customers from EMC to IBM,or from any major vendor to another,is a tough sell, said Kevin Hoffman, vice president of sales at Hoffman Technologies, a Sacramento, Calif.-based solution provider.


IBM's migration service is based on one of two 'black box' appliances.

Hoffman, whose company partners with both EMC and IBM for storage, said the two vendors have good storage product lines. "We're talking enterprise-level equipment," he said. "All my customers have tight budgets. IBM would have to offer some serious ROI to get them to change."

IBM and EMC support nearly every platform with their storage products, Hoffman said. "If it's an IBM shop, I would go with Shark [storage products] because the customer already understands the IBM support structure," he said. "If they have Symmetrix or Clariion [products] in their shop, they are more familiar with EMC's support structure."

Sponsored post

IBM's migration service is based on one of two "black box" appliances for which the company has applied for patents, said Lou Sciacchetano, vice president of the Armonk, N.Y.-based company's worldwide storage competitive team.

The appliance, which includes eight migration engines running under Linux, is either a zSeries server for mainframe environments or a pSeries server for open environments.

It ships in a hardened box because it is designed to be brought to different customers' shops to migrate them from EMC or any other platform to IBM in a non-disruptive manner, Sciacchetano said.

Along with the "black box," IBM is also offering services to help ease the migration to its storage offerings, he said. Included are services to evaluate a customer's current storage infrastructure to develop the solution, provide an implementation plan, identify financing options, and actually deploy the solution. Solution providers can be trained to become certified in the migration service, or can call IBM in to do the service, he said.

While the migration service works for all competitive platforms, IBM is aiming specifically at EMC, Hopkinton, Mass., Sciacchetano said. "EMC has a lot of legacy equipment out there getting old," he said. "With new applications like e-mail, customers have to move to new technologies anyway, even if it is to new EMC equipment. %85 We're selling a complete [replacement] solution."