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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.