Cirrus Data Solutions founders Wayne and Wai Lam had a vision when they created the company in 2011 – a vision to help organizations transform the way they manage their data. The core of this vision has always been the revolutionary Transparent Datapath Intercept (TDI) technology which allows the addition of a host of data management services to a company’s data with no downtime and no changes to the infrastructure. TDI has primarily been used to transparently intercept data for the purpose of data migration, but now its benefits can be applied to a whole new area of data management.
I was able to sit down and speak one-on-one with Wayne Lam, Cirrus Data’s CEO and Founder, to learn more about the new DMS Platform and how it figures into the company’s future strategy and vision.
Q: You started Cirrus Data Solutions back in 2011, tell us about your original vision for the company.
Wayne: Over the years, my brother Wai and I knew that there had to be an easier way to help organizations manage their data better. Being in the middle of storage layers was difficult and no one had really done it in a way where IT organizations could easily implement true data management across the company. To solve this challenge, we created what is now our core technology and the basis of the DMS Platform: Transparent Datapath Intercept (TDI).
Q: Can you tell me a little bit more about TDI, the core of the DMS Platform?
Wayne: Well, there is a lot of information about TDI on our website, so you can learn more there, but overall, TDI is a way to intercept the data in the datapath. By using TDI, we can deliver data management services to the enterprise non-disruptively and without downtime. Until now, our products largely used TDI with a focus on data migration, but we are now expanding the use cases to extend to data protection and beyond.
Our latest release of DMS officially introduced pMotion, which allows real time moving of the workload from the old storage to the new without application downtime. The trick is using our migration appliance to emulate the old appliance while redirecting all I/O to the new storage. There are cases where the customer kept our migration appliance in the datapath for months while waiting for the final cutover window. This showed that it is absolutely viable to keep the appliances as a permanently deployed solution for continued data synchronization needs, such as local data protection and remote DR.
Q: Cirrus Data has been known for its solid data migration solution, so why enter the data protection space now?
Wayne: To just expand a little on what I said previously, over the last six years or so, with all the data migration exposure we have had working with everyone from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, to government organizations, we have had the opportunity to really harden the solution and learn how we can expand into new uses cases that have been requested by customers and partners now that we are already in the datapath. One of the lessons we learned is that organizations all have different internal requirements on how data is managed and most have heterogenous environments that most native storage vendor solutions do not support. With the DMS Platform, we do not care where the storage resides – whether it be in a physical or cloud datacenters, we just look at the blocks of data and move the data without disruption. We realized in our most recent release that our unique method of doing this allows us to provide a disaster recovery solution to the organization by easily moving the data to a local or remote storage array without causing downtime or disruption to the infrastructure.
Q: What does the future look like for Cirrus Data Solutions?
Wayne: For years people have looked at us as a block level data migration solution, rather than through the prism of our true differentiator, which is TDI. Over the next year, we are working on really embedding that focus to the DMS Platform and providing additional data management services on top of data migration and data protection. With the way that we have created and developed TDI, we can now tap into the latest technologies such as data containers, fully virtualized data centers, file storage and of course the cloud. With the DMS Platform we now have a galaxy of possibilities to discover and we hope everyone will join us on this new adventure.