Startup offers compliant data archive migration software

Beth Pariseau

Software startup Procedo Inc., originally founded by CEO Joe Kvidera as a consulting firm in 2003, came out of stealth late last year and is looking to fill a gap left by established archiving tools by migrating data from one type of archive storage to another. One of the firm's first projects was a migration from EMC's Centera to what at the time was KVS, which Veritas acquired in 2004.

"We developed a great working relationship with the product development team" for KVS, Kvidera said. In late 2005, after a few more archive migration jobs, Kvidera decided to give up consulting and focused on creating a tool for migrating and consolidating archive content.

The result was the Procedo Archive Migration Manager (PAMM), which was released in 2007. PAMM migrates and tracks data from one type of archive storage to another while preserving chain of custody. It can do this for archive storage migrations, archive application migrations or both. "So, if you have Enterprise Vault on Centera and you want to move to EmailXtender on an NFS device, we have full migration capabilities," Kvidera said.

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PAMM is a cluster of at least three servers, one for ingesting data from the old archive, another for writing to the new archive and a SQL server that tracks each message according to the object ID assigned to it at either end. "If you're migrating 200 million messages, our database will have 200 million rows," Kvidera said.

The SQL database uses snapshots temporarily stored on storage area network (SAN) storage to validate that object IDs match on both ends, while the data is converted and migrated. The SQL instance then becomes a chain-of-custody log in case the validity of the data being migrated is questioned. The database tracking also means that failed or incomplete migrations can be corrected.

Symantec is one of the large vendors that has brought Procedo into storage shops to migrate data between archives during technology refreshes.

There are other tools that overlap with what PAMM does, such as a service from Renew Data that imports data from tape into archives. Many storage vendors sell data migration software and some vendors, such as AXS-One, have tools that convert archives from one email application to another. However, according to Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Brian Babineau, these offerings are generally not focused on migrating data from one third-party vendor's archive to another while retaining chain of custody.

"We're starting to see long-term customers frustrated with their email archiving application or storage system, or hitting a regular three-year refresh cycle," Babineau said. "[Procedo]'s offering is very much needed."

Procedo has done just under 30 jobs for Fortune 2500 companies with capacities ranging from 13 TB to hundreds of terabytes, Kvidera said. It integrates with Symantec's Enterprise Vault, Autonomy-Zantaz's EAS, EMC's EmailXtender, Hewlett-Packard's IAP and LiveOffice, and Procedo has partnerships with Symantec and NetApp.

For now, organizations deploy PAMM as part of a services engagement, usually through their archiving vendors. But Procedo is working on a GUI and wizards for the software that would allow customers to deploy and manage it directly. Precedo is also planning to release a software agent that can update archive shortcuts on end-point devices by the end of the year.

Because its software migrates data away from its partners' archives as often as it migrates new customers to them, Procedo has a delicate position in the market. "Not every large vendor wants to work with them -- they're trying to play Switzerland, and that's tough," Babineau said. Procedo also faces a tough task of updating its product to keep up with all of its partners' product development cycles.

However, Babineau predicts that won't be Procedo's position long term. "Sooner or later, someone is going to buy them," he said.

Kvidera is thinking about that, too. The company has engaged an investment bank to look into opportunities to eventually sell the company, possibly to a strategic partner.

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