Morse is promising to migrate data between drive arrays with no interruption to online access. It is a combination of around 25 days consultancy and the Piper DME from Vicom.

The product records which data items have been copied over from the source to the target array. If a change occurs to data that has already been copied then Piper will replicate the change to the same data item on the target array. This guarantees that the target array's contents are synchronised with the source array's contents at the end of the migration.

Customers can migrate date between old and new drive arrays offline but this, obviously, means that there is no online access to the data during migration. With a 24x7 business environment this is not acceptable for many databases and transaction systems.

If you migrate drive array contents online then the source array contents could be changed by online access before the migration is complete, making the old and new arrays un-synchronised. Customers could purchase and products such as Piper DME and run the migration themselves. There is a lot of planning involved before the migration and checking afterwards to ensure processes like snapshots, replication and backup execute as before.

Morse has packed the whole exercise up as a service which includes use of the Piper DME tool.

Martin Davies, a Morse managing consultant, explained: "We audit a customer's existing environment and plan the migration. We make sure the same functionality as on the original storage will be there on the target and ensure the same back-up processes work. We take a lot of the risk of the migration away."

Why should customers be interested? "They could have bought into a technology which needs a refresh. Then, even with the same vendor, they'd need to migrate. They might be implementing tiered storage. Customers in mid-tier enterprises are looking at their storage costs seriously as enterprise-level storage functions have come down to the mid-tier."

"Our service offers customers the flexibility to move away from their chosen vendor if they see a technology or cost benefit."

The cost of the service is around 25 days consultancy, 20 days before and 5 days after the migration, plus about £5,000/TB of transferred data. For a 10TB database that could be £70,000 or more. This has to be factored in to the cost of the new array. Its cost plus the £70K has to be less than the savings and benefits of moving to it from the existing array.

The Morse offering is likely to appeal to customers with a high level of constant online updating of data, a requirement not to be offline, and a significant cost and/or performance advantage in moving off an old array.