IBM is on the prowl to attract Compaq's disenfranchised Alpha customers, having teamed with a software company to offer a free migration assessment programme and other incentives.
The software company, Sector7, said that it and Big Blue will offer Compaq VAX/Alpha OpenVMS and Tru64 users a free initial assessment, up to $100,000 depending on the application size, to determine cost and time to re-host their custom or package applications to IBM pSeries systems.
The offer is a result of Compaq's recent decision to end the Alpha architecture and transfer all Alpha intellectual property and personnel to Intel's new Itanium architecture by 2004. Alpha chips are Compaq's 64-bit processors that run on its OpenVMS and Tru64 operating systems.
Jon Power, Sector7's president and chief executive, said that since Compaq's recent announcement the company has seen a significant increase in website traffic and a greater interest in its services.
"We've probably seen a sixfold increase in hits on our website," he said. "Alpha OpenVMS and Tru64 Unix clients have invested millions of dollars in applications to run their businesses and I doubt whether they ever thought that being forced to migrate to a totally new computer system was what Compaq meant by protecting their investment in Alpha platforms."
Alpha customers will eventually have to buy Compaq's new Itanium-based systems or choose migration offers such as Sector7's and buy IBM systems. Prior to that time, Compaq will deliver only two more generations of its Alpha processor line to its customers.
Power said he saw similar surges in interest back in September 1999 when Compaq announced it would discontinue support for NT on the Alpha, and when Oracle bought Digital's database product.
"That was just the end of a specific operating environment," he explained. "This is the end of the architecture and it is clear to me that decision makers are reconsidering their loyalty to Compaq, and are actively seeking other alternatives."
Services the company will offer include enterprise application re-platforming, legacy application management, OpenVMS consulting, testing and implementation, application renovation and server consolidation and migration.
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