I live down the block from a Whole Foods supermarket. So, needless to say, I get groceries far more often than is necessary. During one particular outing, my meandering journey through aisles 1-8 was fairly routine. Halfway between aisle 9’s organic frozen pizzas and chimichangas, however, the unthinkable happened. My mini-shopping cart lost a wheel. Lamenting the time wasted by this terrible occurrence, I returned to the entrance, grabbed a larger and sleeker shopping cart, and returned to the chimichangas. As I efficiently transferred my food, I accounted for all my items, placed them in the same logical structure, and ensured none of them were damaged in the moving process. Not a single apple was bruised. After the transfer, I grabbed a few bottles of coconut water, purchased a candy bar on a last-second impulse, and walked home.
Something as necessary as an information governance solution (or a shopping cart) should be functional, fast, scalable, and have many complimentary features. ZL offers a variety of modules -- including eDiscovery, Compliance, Records Management, and Analytics -- while my new shopping cart had a cup holder and disinfectant wipes, which were nice. All this said, the focus of my blog post is not the ZL Unified Archive® (ZL UA). If that were the focus of this thrilling exposition, I would have used a different analogy; after all, the ZL UA merits comparison to something better and more interesting than a shopping cart… at least in my opinion.
Instead, I’d like to focus on ZL’s unequaled data migration process. The apple of my eye.
When a client makes the switch from an old legacy archiving system to a new one, a data migration must occur if the old system is to be decommissioned. Decommissioning the old system makes sense; I would have felt rather silly dragging a broken shopping cart behind my new cart. Many competitors in the information governance space advocate for a very traditional, archaic form of data migration: export of data via PST or NSF, followed by ingestion into a new system. This solution is tedious: sometimes years of IT work. It’s also entirely dependent on the legacy system’s PST/NSF export capabilities. Some archiving solutions do not report export failures, preventing the tracking of every message. Additionally, it is not unreasonable to expect some corruption of data in the export process, especially if there are hundreds of millions of messages to be migrated. Overall, NSF/PST export and import is expensive, indefensible, and unreliable; a legacy data migration solution that is rotten at its core.
Let’s go back to the grocery shopping incident. When I was faced with moving my lovely organic foodstuffs, I didn’t blindfold myself and dump the contents from one cart to the other. That would have destroyed my cage-free eggs! Instead, I did what was logical: I maintained the storage structure of my food, ensuring nothing was damaged or lost. We use that same logical approach to data migration with ZL’s DirectExtract™Engine. Utilized by ZL’s Professional Services team, DirectExtract is a proprietary set of tools that allows ZL’s clients to seamlessly migrate legacy data into the ZL UA. It is highly renowned for of its speed, 100% tracking accuracy, and maintenance of data fidelity and structure. Comparing ZL’s DirectExtract migration method to a legacy system PST ingestion is like comparing an apple to an eggplant; the former is always preferable, while the latter leaves a bad taste in your mouth (if you like eggplant – God forbid – feel free to replace it with some other undesirable vegetable).
Using the DirectExtract engine, our Professional Services team is able to track all legacy data via database population and vault item discovery. This means that we map entries within the legacy system’s database to a table within ZL. Using populated metadata, we are able to track every message’s ingestion status. Even if the migration of a message is unsuccessful, we document the exact reason, e.g. if it’s corrupted or entirely missing. Additionally, should a legacy vault contain items that were not documented within its database, ZL is still capable of pulling the data.
In layman’s terms, we generate a grocery list. If the store is out of canned corn, or if the remaining canned corn has clearly been dropped several times, we make note of it on the list. If we realize in the snacks aisle that we forgot to put tortilla chips on the list, we have the ability to grab a bag anyway. Boy, am I hungry!
Since DirectExtract pulls information from a legacy system’s database, we have the ability to maintain metadata that a PST/NSF export would lose. Many of our customers have used DirectExtract’s population tool to maintain folder structure, eDiscovery case metadata, and even audit trail information. DirectExtract ensures that data fidelity is maintained. Some archiving solutions store data in a variety of standard (eml, msg, gzip, etc.) formats. More importantly, many archiving solutions store files in nonstandard proprietary formats which have changed over the years via versioning. Our custom set of connectors ensures that the integrity of any file is preserved, regardless of the previous system’s file format(s).
This isn’t to say we’re uniquely special; I realize some of these claims are not exclusive to ZL’s migration service, but rarely will you find them all in one place. ZL has honed its migration methodology while ingesting billions upon billions of legacy messages over the years. As a result, the DirectExtract Engine ingests data at least three times more quickly than other data migration solutions. All in all, ZL’s migration solution is defensible, scalable, fast, and reliable.
How do you like them apples?