API Vs Direct – Who’s Right?

Posted by Barney Haye on Mar 17, 2015 Last updated Jul 26, 2021

There seems to be a lot of debate around how best to extract data from legacy email archives. Some say API is the only way to go, as this is the only way to ensure 100% reliability and data integrity. Others say only a Direct connection can deliver the extraction speeds enterprises demand when migrating what could be many TBs to the cloud.

The fact is, the ‘API camp’ and the ‘Direct camp’ are both right!

Let’s first look at the API extraction approach in the context of Symantec’s Enterprise Vault.

Quite rightly, Symantec is unable to endorse a migration that uses a non-API approach. Whether you’re upgrading or restructuring EV, migrating to Enterprise Vault.cloud, or even moving away from EV to say, Office 365, the API route is really the only way to go….although there are some caveats –read on.

Next, although it’s easy to directly access generic CIFS/SMB storage or widely used devices like EMC Centera, there are many other storage options (from vendors including Amazon, Rackspace, Dell and Hitachi) which rely on the Enterprise Vault Streamer API to act as a go-between.

The API also insulates data access from other ‘un-predictable’ scenarios, such as unusual database schemas.

But now let’s consider the Direct approach.

Customer projects have shown that the direct connector can deliver performance up to 10 x faster than using the API. This is especially the case when the EV archive is ‘busy’ serving end user retrieval requests or busy archiving.

The direct route also has a lower impact on the EV environment (as it does not go via the EV servers).

Also if you have a non-operational EV archive, the direct approach lets you get directly at the archive without the EV server even being ‘live’.

So let’s face it, each approach has its own merits.

That’s why Transvault has always offered choice. It’s the only email archive solution that lets you select the optimum connection route for the environment you’re working with: Direct, API or both!

You can choose a purely API connection or a totally Direct connection, but the unique hybrid connection automatically switches from using the direct connector to the API connector whenever it encounters an item it can’t access properly.

Another fact is that some of the more complex projects our partners encounter require both types of connector to cope with a mixed bag of different EV versions and storage types and EV servers in different ‘states of health’. Sometimes it’s difficult to know what you’ll need until you get going with the migration.

The net result of a hybrid approach means that that your migration goes at full velocity whenever it can, but without risking data loss or integrity for any items that need the API to access them.

But we hasten to add, we always encourage our migration partners to err on the side of caution, so you can still elect to use a fully API connector. Our API connector scales in parallel across multiple servers to give you industry-leading API performance too.

Another final point to note if you’re doing an EV-EV migration is that Transvault offers an end-to-end API connection to both a source and a target EV archive (even between different versions of EV, such as V6 to V11+).

This means each item migrated goes across in 1 jump – that’s to say, it’s extremely fast, compliant and with no need for interim files.

No other vendor has the same direct API-API pipe when migrating between different instances of Enterprise Vault.