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Is Nirvanix closing down?

Is Nirvanix closing down?

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If the rumours are true, then Nirvanix Inc, one of the oldest cloud storage companies is about to go out of business.  Customer have less than two weeks to move their data elsewhere before services are closed down on 30th September.  How does this affect the market perception of cloud services in general and how should customers deal with it?  Here are some initial thoughts.

  • Why the short notice?  Nirvanix have allegedly given customers two weeks to move their data.  Regardless of what that content is (backup, archive or live data), if customers are paying for it, then it is valuable to them.  Two weeks simply isn’t enough.  Data may have been migrated into Nirvanix over many months and years; neither the customer nor Nirvanix may have the bandwidth to move the data elsewhere in that time.  So, if you’re evaluating a cloud provider ask yourself this question – how long would it take to move my data elsewhere?
  • Lack of communication.  There is no information on Nirvanix’ website regarding the shutdown.  This is rather surprising, as even if the company was going under, from a goodwill perspective, there should be some channels of communication.  Next question for your future cloud storage provider – do you have service delivery managers and how often do they communicate?
  • What if they do go under?  What happens if Nirvanix shut down and you don’t have all your data off?  Next question for your future provider – in the event of a company failure, contractually how do you maintain legal access to your data from whoever acquires the hardware?
Since the announcement last week, at least one company appears to be keep Nirvanix customers afloat.  Aorta Cloud has a series of announcements detailing their attempted rescue package.  There’s no guarantee this will succeed but at least it offers customers a glimmer of hope.
Five years ago I wrote about RAIC (redundant array of inexpensive clouds).  This article talked about having a piece of middleware to manage the data abstraction between the user and the cloud service and their disparate API standards.  At the time an initiative from Zend Technologies was developing a cloud API.  Although this still exists today, it doesn’t appear to have gained much traction.  Perhaps a better idea of brokers are platforms like Nasuni or Avere, able to take customer data and store them on multiple providers.  The Avere solution can also manage the back-end movement of data between providers.


The Architect’s View

Trusting to a single supplier for anything is risky in any part of IT and I’ve always been a fan of a multi-vendor strategy.  The same applies for Cloud.  No vendor is immune and end users should always be planning for the worst.  Hopefully in this instance, Nirvanix customers will either be saved or able to migrate their data elsewhere.  Whatever happens, this is a stark warning for anyone looking to use cloud services – caveat emptor.


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About Chris M Evans

Chris M Evans has worked in the technology industry since 1987, starting as a systems programmer on the IBM mainframe platform, while retaining an interest in storage. After working abroad, he co-founded an Internet-based music distribution company during the .com era, returning to consultancy in the new millennium. In 2009 Chris co-founded Langton Blue Ltd (www.langtonblue.com), a boutique consultancy firm focused on delivering business benefit through efficient technology deployments. Chris writes a popular blog at http://blog.architecting.it, attends many conferences and invitation-only events and can be found providing regular industry contributions through Twitter (@chrismevans) and other social media outlets.
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