Cloud provider Nirvanix and Luminex Software are partnering to get mainframe administrators to join the cloud bandwagon.
The two companies are offering a cloud-based Virtual Tape Library (VTL) service for mainframe environments. As part of the deal, Luminex will sell the Nirvanix cloud service with its CGX Channel Gateway X VTL system so that less accessed data can be archived to the cloud. The VTL system is integrated with Luminex’s CloudSAFE replication software that currently is being re-coded to talk directly to object storage via Nirvanix’s REST APIs.
The service will be generally available in the fourth quarter and beta is expected to start “very shortly,” said Arthur Tolsma, Luminex’s CEO. The system’s replication software will use the TwinStrata CloudArray gateway to talk to object storage during beta testing, but the CloudSAFE software will be cloud-ready for general availablity.
Getting mainframe administrators to move to the cloud may be a tough sell, since they typically are risk averse. According to Luminex’s data analysis, more than 90 percent of mainframe users still use physical tape for archiving. For this reason, Luminex may position the service for third-copy archiving, while second-copy data is replicated to a disk-based system for disaster recovery.
“Mainframe people are the last to do anything new,” said Tolsma.”We are promoting it for third-copy data but secondary copy is looking like a practical option also.”
Tolsma claims his company is having some success getting mainframe users to go tapeless and move to disk. He attended the Share IBM mainframe user group in Anaheim, CA. this week and found some mainframe customers are amenable to using the cloud for secondary copies of data.
“[Mainframe customers] are using disk to go tapeless. That clearly is accelerating,” said Tolsma. “In a few years, it will be more than 50 percent in the United States and it’s just getting started internationally.”
Steve Zivanic, Nirvanix’s VP of marketing, said they chose Luminex as a partner because they have a large installed base of mainframe users. Nirvanix now focuses on the Microsoft, Unix, VMware markets.
“Who is focusing on the mainframe? Nobody,” said Zivanic. “This is the first solution to move mainframe-centric data to the cloud. None of the other gateway vendors are focusing on it. This will free up the physical restrictions that mainframe customers have now. Infrequently accessed data is moving to the cloud. That is inevitable.”