IBM is planning to entice customers away from EMC storage servers with its announcement of an aggressive migration scheme called 'Piper'.
Big Blue has provided more than 100 consultants and technologists with Piper, which integrates a set of cost analysis and data migration tools.
As part of the programme, IBM Business Partners will gain access to the company's data migration tools, services and support, in an attempt to increase channel sales and extend the reach of the company's TotalStorage solutions.
IBM said the Piper programme can migrate EMC customers to its hardware with no downtime. Fujitsu and Hitachi Data Systems are also on IBM's target list.
This will come as a blow for EMC, which, according to analyst firm IDC, has lost market share to IBM for the second consecutive quarter in total worldwide factory revenue attributable to disk storage systems.
IBM has introduced the ease-of-migration tool in response to companies postponing or cancelling storage migration programmes due to concerns over network disruptions and downtime.
"One of the main concerns businesses have is the risk of migrating over to new storage systems. Piper removes this risk," said Tony Cox, a storage expert at IBM EMEA storage services.
Simon Gay, consultancy practice leader at Computacenter, which provides corporates with both IBM and EMC storage systems, welcomed the move towards easier migration in the storage market.
But he warned that customers are more focused on virtual solutions, such as those announced by IBM and HP, than specific vendor hardware.
"It's Magic Roundabout stuff. Vendors are trying to take competitor share but it does not move things on," he said.
"Supportability, integration and virtualisation are what customers are looking for, and vendors need to offer this."
Firms are looking to discard storage hardware and adopt more virtualisation storage products, which allow enterprises to be charged via an on-demand, usage model, he added.
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