Nirvanix Shutdown: Some Customers Face Mission Impossible - InformationWeek
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11:41 PM
Charles Babcock
Charles Babcock
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Nirvanix Shutdown: Some Customers Face Mission Impossible

Cloud storage provider's pending shutdown gives customers 2 weeks to move data out -- and that's not enough time given bandwidth realities. One expert's advice: Panic now.

Gartner's advice was brutal. Panic now, not later, Hilgendorf said in a blog Wednesday.

"What are clients do to? For most -- react ... and react in panic. You have 2 weeks. Go! You don't have time to worry about how much data you have stored there. You don't have time to upgrade network connections or bandwidth. You don't have time to order large drives or arrays to ship to the provider to get your data back. You may not even get any support from the provider! You may be facing the worst company fear -- losing actual data," he wrote in the blog.

Maybe it won't come to that. CRN reports that a Nirvanix partner, Aorta Cloud in the U.K., wants to raise money from partners and customers to keep Nirvanix in business. HP and IBM have steered important HP Cloud and IBM Smart Cloud customers to Nirvanix's door as a recommended storage vendor. Will they stand by and watch customers' data go down the drain? IBM did not respond to an InformationWeek query. But it's possible those discussions have already occurred. If money is available, why did Nirvanix tell customers to clear out by Sept. 30, then Oct. 15?

What's happening is something like the sinking of an "unsinkable" ship. It's hard at first for passengers to believe that the host is in jeopardy. Then, as that fact sinks in, it's even harder to believe there's a deadline for getting out. The idea that customers must do so before the crew announces that all lifeboats are gone and there's nowhere else to turn is completely contrary to the idea of who we all thought Nirvanix was -- a safe place to store data. When it turns out that it wasn't safe, and is becoming less so by the day, then the next stage is probably as Helgendorf suggested: panic.

If Nirvanix's data export pipes prove to be too small, there may be ways that some of the data center services that it uses will find ways to augment the bandwidth available, regardless of existing contracts. Deliverance may come by some unanticipated means, and if so, that's fine. But storage in the cloud has taken a blow from which it will not soon recover.

If Nirvanix can't be saved, it will tend to consolidate cloud storage use in the hands of the strongest cloud vendors, the ones that can afford to offer storage as a loss leader. Losing Nirvanix may mean losing the prospect that there will be a multitude of storage choices. Those that remain, like Amazon, may continue to make it inexpensive to get your data into the cloud. But with fewer providers, it may get even more expensive to get it out.

Learn more about cloud risks and benefits by attending the Interop conference track on Cloud Computing and Virtualization in New York from Sept. 30 to Oct. 4.

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User Rank: Ninja
9/26/2013 | 11:25:59 AM
re: Nirvanix Shutdown: Some Customers Face Mission Impossible
Welcome to the cloud! While it is tragic for the customers who have little to nothing to do with the demise of Nirvanix it hopefully teaches them a lesson: the cloud is volatile by design! The vendor can go belly up in weeks, the connection can be lost, and plenty more things can happen that jeopardize your data.
Use the cloud solely for things that are not critical and if lost result to a minor inconvenience. You have been warned many many times!
Ian Moyse
Ian Moyse,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/20/2013 | 4:35:30 PM
re: Nirvanix Shutdown: Some Customers Face Mission Impossible
like any market will have winners and losers and customers need to do diligence
on their provider which should include off boarding meaning how easy is it to
get your data back in a usable format and move elsewhere should you choose or
need, Good cloud providers will make this easy and are open and up front
about their provision for this,. Cloud is a long term play as a provider , not
a quick buck market and unless you differentiate the customer value you deliver
you can rapidly become marginalised and commoditised. The issue in this
case is the lack of time allowed to their customers to take the required action
due to not provisioning contingency into their own business models ahead of
time. Cloud in the majority is a highly positive outcome for the customer,
their will be exceptions like this along the journey of cloud evolution as
there was in the product world.

Ian Moyse
User Rank: Strategist
9/19/2013 | 6:19:40 PM
re: Nirvanix Shutdown: Some Customers Face Mission Impossible
Both EMC Atmos and Iron Mountain Virtual File Store preceded ceasing to exist as cloud storage. Atmos was closed in mid-2010. Iron Mountain announced in April 2011 it was exiting its cloud-based Virtual File Store business. But it had only been in the storage service for two years and had fewer customers than Nirvanix. It stopped taking new customers at the start of April 2011 before making its announcement. It also guaranteed continued customer service for two years, not two weeks. It helped customers move to another cloud service or get their data back on premises. Iron Mountain was an example of how to end a cloud service. Is Nirvanix following in its footsteps?.
User Rank: Author
9/19/2013 | 4:54:30 PM
re: Nirvanix Shutdown: Some Customers Face Mission Impossible
The "not enough tunnels" metaphor seems apt here. This is the first cloud storage evac incident on this scale, right Charlie? I wonder if this spells very bad news for all but the largest cloud storage vendors.
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