Azure Storage Mover competes with partners

Microsoft has set up a service to move NFS file data into Azure, competing with its partners Data Dynamics and Komprise, and also Datadobi and WANdisco.

Update: Komprise, WANdisco and Datadobi comments added; 13 and 14 December.

Back in February, Microsoft announced a free inward migration service to bring file data to Azure through data migration partners Data Dynamics and Komprise. Data Dynamics used its StorageX product while Komprise supplies its Elastic Data Migration (EDM). This program was a complement to the existing Azure Migrate portfolio for customers with less than 50TB of data to migrate and included tools such as AzCopy, rsync, or Azure Storage Explorer.

Fast forward 10 months and Jurgen Willis, Microsoft VP for Azure Optimized Workloads and Storage, writes: “Today, we are adding another choice for file migration with the preview launch of Azure Storage Mover, which is a fully managed, hybrid migration service that makes migrating files and folders into Azure a breeze.”

Yes, a breeze that could blow away its existing partners.

Microsoft Azure Storage Mover
Microsoft Azure Storage Mover diagram

Azure Storage Mover focuses on the migration of an on-premises network file system (NFS) share to an Azure blob container. It will support many additional sources and Azure target combinations over the coming months. 

Admins can plan the migration, whether it be one-time or repetitive, then start and track it through the Azure portal, PowerShell or CLI. Agent VMs are deployed in the source NFS share or shares system and data is migrated directly to the target Azure region. Willis says this “is key for migrations that happen across geographically diverse branch offices that will likely target Azure Storage in their region.”

All of a customer’s data migration projects can be managed from a single dashboard.

The Storage Mover roadmap includes provisioning target storage automatically based on the customer’s migration plan, and running post-migration tasks such as data validation, enabling data protection, and completing migration of the rest of the workload, etc. Another item on thre roadmap is automatically loading possible sources into the service. Willis writes: “That’s more than just convenience; it enables large-scale migrations and reduces mistakes from manual input.”

Azure Storage Mover dashboard
Single Azure Storage Mover dashboard for all of a customer’s file data migration projects

Data Dynamics

Asked about Storage Mover, Data Dynamics CEO Piyush Mehta told us: “Microsoft is providing a ‘first party’ service with basic functionality to support customers looking to migrate to Azure. The ability to move smaller workloads that may not have complexity or require discovery of the source, understanding of the permissions nor any other attributes are valuable for SMB clients that simply want the physics of moving data from A to B.”

Piyush Mehta, Data Dynamics
Piyush Mehta

But Data Dynamics focuses on larger customer, with Mehta saying: “Enterprise customers will require a more robust solution that addresses the scale and complexity of their environments and that’s where solutions such as ours would be brought in, meeting the needs of multiple sites with petabytes of data.”

In Mehta’s view: “When you look at the Data Dynamics Software Platform, enterprises are leveraging a single software [product] that enables storage optimization and lifecycle management, accelerates the journey to public hyperscaler, and meets data compliance, governance and security needs. This holistic approach goes beyond addressing a single use case of data migrations, rather providing an ability to leverage a single software [product] to address the needs of the CIO, CDO, CISO and lines of business.”

Komprise and WANdisco

Komprise co-founder, President and COO Krishna Subramanian tells us: “Cloud data migration is important and moves like this are further validation that the market is maturing. We partner closely with Microsoft to drive success of the Azure Migrate Program. We welcome best-of-breed point solutions and our approach is to incorporate these when appropriate to provide the best end-to-end, storage agnostic, standards-based data management and migration solution.”

“Just as we already leverage data transfer technologies like NetApp SnapMirror and provide a holistic data migration solution, we are looking at similarly leveraging Azure Storage Mover. … we will continue to partner closely with Microsoft to deliver the simplicity and efficiency of analytics-driven data migration and data management.”

A spokesperson from WANdisco said: “WANdisco’s capabilities and products are designed for significant, at-scale, ‘any cloud’ migrations and do not serve the same target customer base or customer need as ASM, which has been in preview since mid-September.”


Steve Leeper, VP of Product Marketing at Datadobi, told us: “It appears that Azure Storage Mover is a new managed file migration service that, in its current “preview” incarnation targets the migration of NFS datasets from on-premises storage into Azure Blob which can then be accessed by HPC (High Performance Computing) or other applications that depend on Azure Blob object storage. 

“[Datadobi] StorageMAP’s data migration capabilities are very mature and provide several benefits ranging from API integration with the systems, UI/graphical and/or REST-API based migration creation, detailed monitoring and error handling workflows, highly performant scan and copy operations, a dedicated cutover module, and more. Its underlying data mobility engine has millions of hours of run time in some of the largest and most demanding environments that can be found. Any technology introduction that can make a customer’s life easier is something Datadobi will always welcome but we are also quite sure of our capabilities in this space which is the result of many years of intense R&D combined with real-world experience.”