IBM Sweetens Migration Path For Sun Customers


IBM is seeking to lure Sun Microsystems customers to its solutions, following the EU’s permission for Oracle to acquire the server maker

IBM is looking to tempt disgruntled or worried Sun Microsystems customers, by making it easier for them to migrate across to IBM equipment.

IBM officials announced 26 January that they are adding new software to their Migration Factory portfolio, that will make it easy for businesses to move their workloads off of Sun technology and onto IBM hardware.

The new software automates many of the necessary tasks for making the move from Sun to IBM, including automatically discovering and identifying Sun assets, provisioning the new IBM environment and streamlining workload transitions.

The goal is to ease and speed up the migration from Sun’s Solaris operating system to Linux or IBM’s AIX Unix variant, as well as the movement of middleware and applications onto IBM hardware, according to Big Blue officials.

OEMs for years have had programs in place that are designed to steal customers from competitors. For example, IBM’s Migration Factory has been in place for four years, and officials are boasting that almost 2,200 Sun and Hewlett-Packard server and storage customers have moved onto IBM hardware. For 2009, almost 550 Sun customers and more than 230 from HP have migrated to IBM servers – either its Power Systems, System x or System z mainframes – IBM officials said.

However, Oracle’s announcement last year that it intended to buy Sun for $7.4 billion (£4.6 billion) spurred Sun rivals – IBM and HP, in particular – to step up efforts to lure Sun customers onto their respective technologies.

For example, HP on 16 July – the same day Sun shareholders voted to OK the Oracle deal – announced its Sun Complete Care program, a bundle of services, support programs and financial incentives designed to lure Sun customers who might have had concerns about the future of their Sun hardware products.

At the same time, HP has been working to pick off IBM mainframe users, promising them high performance at better prices on HP’s Itanium-based Integrity systems or on the x86 ProLiant servers.


However, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and other company officials have said they intend to keep Sun’s hardware business, and to devote more people to selling and servicing the SPARC/Solaris systems than Sun has had. Oracle went so far as to run full-page newspaper advertisements in September to outline their intentions to challenge IBM as a full-service technology vendor.

Oracle also will become a challenger to Cisco Systems, IBM, HP and Dell in the burgeoning converged data centre space.

Oracle’s plan is to cede the high-volume, low-margin sector of the service market to the likes of HP and Dell, and focus more on the high-end space, which has fewer sales but higher prices.

Oracle officials are scheduled to further outline their plans for Sun’s technology during a Webcast on 27 January. That will come a week after European antitrust regulators OK’d the deal following more than a five-month investigation that focused on the impact of Oracle acquiring the MySQL database technology.

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