IBM officials on Wednesday said the company is using a new data-replication technology called Piper that can smooth customer transitions from other storage platforms.
So far, the technology is for IBMs service and integration use, and has been targeted mainly at customers of Hopkinton, Mass.-based rival EMC Corp., officials of Armonk, N.Y. said.
How the technology differs from existing data replication solutions is unclear. However, Piper comes in two appliance versions. For open systems, its half-height and rack-mounted, with Fibre Channel ports and eight controllers. For mainframes, its based on the IBM S/390 Multiprise server, running the z/OS operating system, and with EsCon (enterprise systems connection) ports, officials said.
IBM has trained 100 consultants and engineers worldwide on the technology so far. Officials declined to comment on the cost for enterprises to use Piper or whether there are future for Piper to become a stand-alone product.
Customers that have employed the technology include Minnesotas Hennepin County; Insurance Services Office Inc., of Jersey City, N.J.; Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., of Miami; and the United States Department of Agriculture, IBM officials said.
"What is different about this is that it is a purpose-built appliance… that gets wheeled in as a service. You dont have to do anything with your own servers, it doesnt affect your production environment," said Anne MacFarland, analyst with The Clipper Group Inc. in Wellesley, Mass.
"Weve had data migration wars back and forth for years [but] theyre actually figuring out whats hard about data migration and making that easy," MacFarland noted. "Its more than just a gimmick. I think EMC will have a hard time doing it," because they dont have server technologies, she said.