Startup offers EMC Centera data migration services

Interlock service moves Centera data to any other NAS array

A Cambridge, Mass.-based startup is offering a new data migration service that allows companies to move archived data off EMC Corp.'s Centera write-once, read many (WORM) arrays on to any other network-attached disk drive.

Interlock Technology said the new offering includes both a data assessment service, which determines how much and what type of data is stored on a Centera device, and then a data migration service to move the data. The services use software with a standards-based API, which the company said ensures that data integrity complies with regulatory rules.

Interlock CEO Gary Lieberman said the company's new service, also offered via consultancy GlassHouse Technologies, offers users an alternative to the high cost of the Centera technology and to its proprietary application programming interfaces (APIs).

"Centera is limited for disaster recovery and business continuity purposes because many organizations can only afford one ... and you can only replicate data to other Centeras," he said.

Interlock's marketing material states that the migration service will allow users to take advantage of archiving software and hardware from a variety of vendors, including NetApp's SnapLock application and IBM's cloud storage service.

Interlock has partnership agreements with both IBM and NetApp.

EMC's Centera is a content addressed storage (CAS) array. CAS, or object-based storage, stores metadata with data so that it can be retrieved based on its content and not its location. Centera also uses a cryptographic hash to ensure that data is immutable, making it compliant with government regulations requiring that sensitive corporate data not be changed after being created.

Interlock uses the Extensible Access Method (XAM) to exchange data between it and network attached storage (NAS) systems or storage area networks (SAN).

"XAM is great for the cloud as well because it's not a proprietary API," Lieberman said.

XAM, a set of standards and a programming interface for storing fixed-content, was developed by vendor members of the Storage Networking Industry Association. The XAM standard allows content to be accessed by a variety of applications while also verifying its integrity.

Interlock's software runs on standard servers, and uses XAM to message data from Cetera's object-based file system to any other file system. The software also leverages Centera's parallel I/O channels in order to migrate up to 6TB of data per day," Lieberman said.

"We keep the data but not the application. We retain the chain of custody and compliance metadata," he said. "We're just a moving company."

Two services

Interlock's service begins with a data assessment, which shows the customer what kind of data and how much of it is stored on the Centera. Lieberman said.

The second state involves installing an appliance with a VPN into the Centera array in order to begin the data migration process. A 256-bit hash is used on the array receiving the data to ensure data integrity. A customer then signs off on the fact that the Centera application is still functioning and that the data has been moved and retained its regulatory compliance.

After the migration is complete, Interlock also supplies the customer with an XML file of the data that was moved and where it now resides. That file is online for five years, Lieberman said.

Interlock's migration service starts at $5,000 per terabyte of data, but scales down in price as the volume of data increases.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian, or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed. His e-mail address is

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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