Hu Yoshida

Proprietary APIs, Are Unacceptable in Today’s Data Center

Blog Post created by Hu Yoshida Employee on Feb 9, 2017


EMC Centera is becoming obsolete according to a report published by Gartner in June of last year. Gartner recommended that organizations make immediate plans to migrate off of the EMC Centera platform. It is rare for Gartner to make such a strong recommendation on a vendor product.


Tony Asaro points out in SearchStorage that there appears to be little or no continued engineering for Centera even though there is an estimated 600 petabytes of it in the market. One customer told Tony that EMC is going to replace his Centera with Atmos which lacks the WORM and immutability features of Centera which was key to its success as a compliance storage device.


According to Tony “the main problem is Centera’s proprietary APIs. Both EMC and their ISVs locked-in customers, so they’ve avoided price erosion or competitive threats………It’s tough to migrate data from a Centera to a competitive platform. I spoke to another user whose firm took 18 months to migrate off Centera, an effort that included custom development and pressuring its ISV to support the move. There should be some outrage about this situation. Centera is a proprietary system, which should be unacceptable in today’s data center. It’s true that Centera users made their choices voluntarily, but it now looks like they’re locked into a platform that has no long-term future.”


According to George Crump, EMC’s recommendation is to migrate to ECS which has replaced Atmos. There are two ways to migrate from Centera to ECS. ECS Sync which requires the migration to be completed before new data can be written to ECS and does not support Centera’s advanced retention management features like “litigation hold”.  The other is the ECS transformation engine, which can support seamless migration but is slow.  While George considers these methods to provide a “graceful exit” from Centera, no matter which method you choose, ECS' content addressable storage (CAS) interface preserves Centera's proprietary characteristics and simply moves the migration problem into the future when even more data will be at risk.


Migration from Centera to modern open object storage systems is complicated and expensive especially if applications are integrated with the proprietary APIs. Professional services will usually be required. However, this needs to be done now. Especially in the face of increasing regulations like General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which I blogged about recently.


The exploding volume of retention data requires the selection of an object storage that will scale and adapt to changing technologies, in order to avoid future migration problems. Today, most Centera systems are less that 100 TB, imagine what the migration challenges will be when you have 10 PB or more. It also requires the support of a vendor who is committed to be there for the long haul.


Hitachi Data System's HCP is a leading object storage system according to Gartner’s Critical Capabilities for Object Storage Report and IDC MarketScape. Its open interfaces have enabled it to move seamlessly across releases and integrate new features like HCP Anywhere for end user data on PCs, Macs and mobile devices, Hitachi Data Ingestor for remote and branch offices, and RESTful interfaces as organizations evolve to the cloud and to IoT where more applications will run on the edge. HCP has moved seamlessly from core to edge to mobile devices to cloud and beyond using standard interfaces.


Hitachi Data Systems has the tools, services and partners who are experts in your applications to safely and efficiently migrate data from Centera to HCP. At a global financial institution, we helped the customer migrate 37 million files in 5 days with a storage –level accelerated migration engagement, which was 10 times faster than a host based migration with lower cost and risk. If you are a Centera user, you can heed Gartner’s advice and engage us to help plan your Centera migration to the Hitachi HCP platform and ensure that you will be able to meet your current and future data retention requirements. And you can be sure that Hitachi Data Systems will be there to support you - now and into the future.