Cobalt Iron touts tech to migrate backups to its SaaS vaults

Cobalt Iron has released fresh backup migration tech, Compass Migrator, that it says can shift your legacy IBM backups to Cobalt Iron’s SaaS backup service, with IBM’s Spectrum Protect and TSM initially supported.

There are very many backup suppliers because each one’s backup file format is proprietary, making migration to a replacement supplier impractical, and sometimes impossible. You need to restore all the legacy format backups and then back them up again using the new supplier’s software. It’s not an automated process and can take many weeks if not months to complete. Cobalt Iron’s product is offering a solution to that problem.

Cobalt Iron’s deployment coordinator, Graham McGivern, said: “As a user of this remarkable Compass Migrator tool, I am amazed by how it simplifies the management of numerous data migrations from multiple sources and targets.”

Don’t get the wrong idea though. “Multiple sources” actually means IBM currently, as CMO Andy Hurt told us: “The current Compass Migrator announcement is for the Spectrum Protect Edition and includes the full migration automation available for legacy TSM and Spectrum Protect legacy environments. Other automated Compass Migrator Editions for other legacy backup environments will be completed as needed by customer engagements.”

TSM stands for Tivoli Storage Manager. Hurt said: “Both disk and tape-based backup sources are supported. … PBs of data and thousands of tape volumes are within the current scope of Compass Migrator operations.”

The company says Compass Migrator:

  • Selectively identifies data to be migrated (e.g., only particular types of data, for certain systems, by date range, active data only, etc.).
  • Automatically migrates data from legacy backup environments into multiple storage targets (including new data centers or the cloud) in the Compass environment.
  • Optimizes migration processes (e.g., minimizes tape mounts, dynamically manages a migration staging area, manages throughput, allows massive parallelism for large data amounts, etc.).
  • Rebinds long-term retention data with appropriate retention policies.
  • Provides migration progress indicators, details, and migration validation analysis.
  • Maintains data custody-tracking throughout the entire migration process and beyond.
  • Provides summary and analysis reports of all migration operations as audit evidence.
  • Supports migration restarts in the event of failed migration jobs or scheduled maintenance activities.

Hurt said: “Migration throughput is completely throttled by available customer networking and backup resources and other customer operations. Compass Migrator can be scaled to very high throughput leveraging many legacy source backup servers and many Compass Accelerator targets.”

Veeam resells Cobalt Iron’s SaaS data protection.


If Cobalt Iron can work out how to migrate Spectrum Protect and TSM backups to its SaaS vaults then so can other backup suppliers. Having it done for Spectrum Protect and Tivoli means, in principle, it could be done for Veritas, Legato and other well-used and long-lived backup software products. This opens the way to make competitive inroads into, and raids on, incumbent backup supplier’s customer bases.