Interlock: a greater data migrator?

Previously quiet data migrator Interlock has decided to raise its profile and tell the world it’s a better migration supplier than Datadobi and other players such as Data Dynamics and Atempo with its Miria offering. Datadobi disagrees.

Noemi Greyzdorf, Interlock
Noemi Greyzdorf

Interlock tells us it has been migrating data over the past 14 years, with more than a thousand migrations – from a few terabytes to petabytes – without any data loss. Noemi Greyzdorf, Interlock’s strategic marketing consultant, said: “The challenge with data (file/object) migrations is that there are many hidden complexities that, when not addressed properly, result in longer migration times and costs.” Greyzdorf supplied examples:

  1. Unlike competitors, Interlock can migrate data from disparate vendors as well as across protocols (NAS to S3). It is able to perform data transformation necessary to translate data formats and structures of one vendor/protocol to another.
  2. Interlock can extract data from application if given access to storage. This allows Interlock to migrate data at the storage layer which is faster, than through the application.
  3. Typically, when migrating data across different storage systems, built-in data protections like snapshots, are lost, but with Interlock, snapshots, labels, as examples, may be migrated with data.
  4. Migrations are complicated by lack of resources such as bandwidth and CPU/memory due to production state of the system. Interlock is able to track utilization (when the system is busy etc.) and adjust number of threads accordingly. This also helps reduce required cutover time.
  5. Most other vendors are pretty good at migrating like systems or like protocols. Datadobi migrates CAS data from Centera to CAS on ECS, but is not able to migrate CAS data to NAS or S3. Others can migrate data if environments are mirrored, but don’t take into consideration unique aspects of each system and its implementation of protocols, structures, application or metadata etc.

We asked Datadobi about this and a spokesperson replied:

  1. Datadobi can do this too.
  2. Datadobi can do this too on selected applications.
  3. When migrating across disparate platforms from different vendors data protection constructs such as snapshots are incompatible. But Datadaobi can be used to execute migrations involving snapshots by employing a specific method to reconstruct the snapshots that are to be retained across systems. With regard to “labels” we assume that is referring to tags (metadata extensions) applied to content as an organization mechanism. Datadobi provides tagging (labeling) and can transfer these tags/labels when migrations are executed.
  4. As can Datadobi. Datadobi can also manage network bandwidth consumption and even combine network throttling with thread level throttling.
  5. This isn’t right. Datadobi has been migrating CAS-to-NAS for 12 years and CAS-to-S3 for seven years. We still do a fair number of CAS-to-NAS/S3 migrations, mostly with the very large enterprises who still have substantial Centera and ECS estates.

For Interlock, migration between different vendors and across protocols is complex. Greyzfdorf said: “Datadobi’s claim is that ‘DobiMigrate enterprise-class software would enable them to migrate file or object data between any storage platform, on-premises or in the cloud – safely, quickly, easily, and cost effectively.’ The devil is in the details. A tool can do like-to-like migrations or some very basic ones, but as soon as you add scale, applications, permissions, or data protection into the equation, a canned tool will require customization. As the quote implies, copying data is only part of the solution.”

Application data extraction is an Interlock specialty: “The extraction’s purpose is to make data available independent of the application, especially when the application is only retained and licensed to access older or archived data. Interlock can extract data regardless of application as long as there is access to storage system. Interlock can extract data and make it searchable on file or object protocols.”

Interlock’s way of dealing with snapshots “is not to reconstruct snapshots, which is taking each snapshot and recreating the file in a separate file system, which can exponentially increase the required capacity on the target system to store all the snapshots. Interlock captures the actual delta that is represented by the snapshot and appends it to an object or creates it on the target system. This may increase incrementally required storage capacity but by a very small factor in comparison to reconstructing data. Interlock supports this when migrating data off or on NetApp and Isilon.”

The company ducks the network bandwidth and throttling issue, and says it has a helpful way of handling cutover: “Every migration tool has developed some methodology to manage thread counts and network consumption; the challenge here is more about the cutover. The cutover requires some interruption to operations and minimizing the cutover window is critical. Interlock has developed an observability capability that enables the cutover to be minimized.”

This leaves us in the position of suggesting that users needing migration capability should consider proof-of-concept trial runs before selecting a vendor.