What is Azure Storage Mover?

Azure Storage Mover is a relatively new, fully managed migration service that enables you to migrate your files and folders to Azure Storage while minimizing downtime for your workload. You can use Storage Mover for different migration scenarios such as lift-and-shift, and for cloud migrations that you have to repeat occasionally. Azure Storage Mover also helps maintain oversight and manage the migration of all your globally distributed file shares from a single storage mover resource.

Supported sources and targets

The current Azure Storage Mover release supports full-fidelity migrations for specific source-target pair combinations. Always utilize the latest agent version to benefit from these supported sources and destinations:

Source protocol Target Comments
SMB 2.x mount Azure file share (SMB) SMB 1.x sources and NFS Azure file shares are currently not supported.
NFS 3 & 4 mount Azure blob storage container Containers with the "Hierarchical Namespace Service (HNS)" feature enabled, are supported and the ADLS Gen2 REST API set is used for migration.

An Azure blob container without the hierarchical namespace service feature doesn’t have a traditional file system. A standard blob container uses “virtual” folders to mimic this functionality. When this approach is used, files in folders on the source get their path prepended to their name and placed in a flat list in the target blob container.

When migrating data from a source endpoint using the SMB protocol, Storage Mover supports the same level of file fidelity as the underlying Azure file share. Folder structure and metadata values such as file and folder timestamps, ACLs, and file attributes are maintained. When migrating data from an NFS source, the Storage Mover service represents empty folders as an empty blob in the target. The metadata of the source folder is persisted in the custom metadata field of this blob, just as they are with files.

However, migrating data from a source endpoint using the NFS protocol might require “virtual” folders during the migration. Because Azure blob containers without HNS support don’t have a traditional file system, Storage Mover uses these folders to mimic a local file system. When files are found within folders on a source endpoint, Storage Mover prepends their paths to their names and places the file in a flat list within in the target blob container.

A screenshot illustrating a source NFS share migrated through an Azure Storage Mover agent VM to an Azure Storage blob container.

Fully managed migrations

A single storage mover resource deployed to your subscription can be used to manage migrations for your source shares located in different parts of the world. The storage mover resource itself doesn't process your files and folders. Rather, you deploy a migration agent near your source share to send your data directly to the selected targets in Azure.

Azure Storage Mover provides a set of management resources that can be used across every share you intend to migrate. For example, you can express your migration plan and retain oversight about migration progress and results on a per-share basis. To take advantage of this capability, create a migration project for every workload you migrate. Within the project, define the source, target, and migration settings for each source share on which your workload depends. You can remain in full control about when to start the migration of a share, track it's progress, and see its results.

The resource hierarchy article has more information about individual Storage Mover resources and how best to use them for your migration. You can also get more deployment planning details in the planning for an Azure Storage Mover deployment article.

A hybrid cloud service

Azure Storage Mover is a hybrid cloud service. Hybrid services have both a cloud service component and an infrastructure component. The service administrator runs the infrastructure component in their corporate environment. For Storage Mover, that hybrid component consists of a migration agent. Agents are virtual machines, deployed to and run on a host near the source storage. To learn more about the agent and how it's deployed, read the Storage Mover agent deployment article.

Except for the agent registration process, all aspects of a migration are managed from the cloud service. Details about the agent registration process are available within the agent registration article.

Next steps

The following articles can help you become more familiar with the Storage Mover service.