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IBM Moves Against EMC With Migration Appliance

In a bid to steal customers away from arch rival EMC, IBM on Wednesday announced an aggressive migration program for moving enterprises off EMC hardware and onto its own line of Shark-grade storage servers.

To entice current EMC customers, and to a lesser extent those relying on Hitachi storage hardware, IBM is deploying a force of more than 100 consultants and technologists, and arming them with a Linux-based, rack-mounted migration appliance that, says IBM, can migrate data to IBM storage servers with no downtime.

"We've been in a dogfight with EMC over the years," said Lou Sciacchetano, IBM's vice president of its worldwide storage competitive sales group. "We've won our share of the battles, but we're starting to see a surge in customer demand to not just replace boxes, but move data as well."

The migration appliance, dubbed 'Piper,' includes an Ethernet hub, Fibre Channel switches, and eight migration engines relying on IBM-crafted migration software.

In a year-long pilot program, the appliance was deployed by IBM's own army of consultants and a limited number of its business partners, said Sciacchetano, but IBM is now taking the program public and opening it up to a wider range of its partners. Currently, a half dozen of IBM's biggest business partners are undergoing training on using the appliance.

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