Nirvanix Declares Bankruptcy; Customer Data Pours Out
Nirvanix partner IBM helps storage users exit the cloud service; CoreSite and Rackspace offer further assistance.
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Nirvanix filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Oct. 1 and has enlisted partner IBM to help it move customer data to new storage sites. It's also expanded the pipeline available at its facilities for data export, a process that it says must be completed by Oct. 15.
The unexpected shutdown of what had been considered enterprise-grade storage service in the cloud came as a surprise to customers and partners alike when Nirvanix on Sept. 16 suddenly informed its partner in the U.K., Aorta Cloud, that it was closing its doors Sept. 30. That date was soon extended to Oct. 15 as it became clear customers would need more time to retrieve their data.
In many ways, the repercussions from the collapse of a major cloud storage provider are being lessened by other cloud infrastructure built out prior to it, such as Direct Connect links from many communications hubs to Amazon Web Services.
Nirvanix partner CoreSite, which provides data center space in which Nirvanix storage facilities are often located, is making cross-connect services available to other Nirvanix customers in the same location. CoreSite is a wholesale data center builder. In some locations, it hosts both Nirvanix and Amazon Web Services and where it does so, it's helping customers move into Amazon 3S storage.
"A flood of Nirvanix clients have been referred to us," said Ted Chamberlain, CoreSite VP of cloud market development, in an interview. "Nivanix was a good customer of ours. They were the high-performance, value leader in cloud storage in Gartner's Magic Quadrant. Their clients are moving petabytes of data … We're going to do our best," he said.
CoreSite provides a 10-Gbps cross-connect link between the Nirvanix service to Amazon or any other storage service located inside its facility. Customers who try to stream data off premises will tend to find the pipeline smaller than that, more likely a 1-Gbps Ethernet line.
In addition, CoreSite data centers, like their competitor, Equinix, are often suppliers of Direct Connect service to the nearest Amazon Web Services cloud center. Direct Connect provides a high-speed, private line over which data may be transferred into S3.
CoreSite facilities in Reston, Va., Los Angeles, Santa Clara and the New York metropolitan area provide AWS Direct Connect service. Chamberlain said big Nirvanix customers in some cases are retrieving disk drives of data and moving them physically to another cloud service provider. "A few customers are taking their data back in-house," but most are seeking an alternative cloud service, he said. "Amazon's S3 appears to be the biggest beneficiary."
In Nirvanix's own announcement, which only recently replaced the come-ons that formerly made up the home page, Nirvanix said it was working with IBM's SoftLayer unit to move data out and into SoftLayer cloud storage. "We have an agreement with IBM, and a team from IBM is ready to help you. In addition, we have established a higher speed connection with some companies to increase the rate of data transfer from Nirvanix," the message reads.
"We are dedicating the resources we can to assisting our customers in either returning their data or transitioning their data to alternative providers," the message also says. In addition to Amazon and SoftLayer, the message specifically mentioned Google Storage and Microsoft Azure's storage service.
Rackspace is trying to make sure it's not left out of the realignment. It has extended its own offer of assistance to Nirvanix customers on its website, promising to waive any import fees and giving them their first month's use of Rackspace Cloud Files for free.
"Don't worry. We'll help you move your data to Rackspace Cloud Files and waive all migration fees," its notice says.
No further word has come from Steve Ampleford, CEO of Aorta Cloud, a U.K. service provider, on his attempt to find additional funding for Nirvanix. It closed $25 million from Khosla Ventures in 2012, bringing its total to $70 million. Despite high-quality services, Nirvanix ended up getting squeezed by improved performance of on-premises systems vs. the constantly dropping prices of other cloud storage service providers.
Amazon Web Services, Google, Microsoft and numerous startups saw cloud storage as a hyper-competitive battlefront where new customers would be gained or lost. Amazon announced storage price reductions at its Re:Invent show last November, quickly followed by Microsoft and Google.
The shutdown, however, came without warning. Moving petabytes of data out of Nirvanix over available export pipes, as multiple customers strained to use those pipes, could take nine to 10 months, warned Nasuni CEO Andres Rodriquez, whose firm provides a front-end data management system that uses different cloud storage services. An internal test warned Nasuni managers that it would be difficult to quickly extract data from Nirvanix, and it had shifted its last customer away from the service one month before the shutdown was announced.
One Nirvanix customer had reportedly used the service to store 20 petabytes of its data.
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