IBM To Buy Softek Storage Solutions


Terms of the deal, slated to close in the first quarter, weren't disclosed. Plans call for IBM to fold Softek's technology into the Storage and Data Services unit of IBM Global Technology Services, according to Val Rahmani, general manager of IBM Global Technology Services, Armonk, N.Y.

Softek's flagship product, the Transparent Data Migration Facility (TDMF) solution, enables large volumes of data to be migrated between multivendor storage and operating system platforms without having to incur downtime, according to Softek, Vienna, Va. Softek was owned by Fujitsu until it was spun off as an independent company in April 2004.

"This powerful combination [of IBM and Softek] will provide clients with a simple and flexible approach to achieve nondisruptive data movement across any platform, any distance and [any] vendor," Rahmani said.

Softek has about 40 solution provider partners worldwide, said Steven Murphy, president and CEO of Softek. Once the IBM-Softek deal closes, Murphy will take on the new title of vice president of data mobility services at IBM.

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All of Softek's solution providers are expected to be retained as IBM partners, according to Rahmani. All of Softek's employees will become IBM employees as well, she said.

Since data migration tools like the ones sold by Softek often play a central role in closing hardware sales, IBM will likely use its acquisition of Softek to propel sales of its own hardware, according to Allan Krans, an analyst at Technology Business Research. That strategy could repel hardware competitors such as HP, Sun, EMC and Hitachi, which are partners of Softek, he noted.

"[Those IBM competitors] will quickly look for alternatives [to Softek], either through building internal capabilities or partnering with other third-party providers to provide data migration services to customers," Krans said.

Softek clients include British Telecom, KeyCorp, Lufthansa and Principal Financial Group. IBM and Softek have had a deep integration partnership for about a decade.