Large and Small Clouds Close, Hang On To Your Data!

In Learning Tree’s Cloud Security Essentials course we caution that any move into the cloud needs to be preceded by careful consideration of how you will get your data and operation back out again. Availability is the leg of the CIA triad effected by business pressures. We just got another reminder of this.

Nirvanix was one of the first cloud storage services. It grew out of Steamload, founded by a Pomona College student in 1998. It received $1.2 million in investment by August 2004 and was renamed Nirvanix in 2007.

In September 2007 they announced the Nirvanix Storage Delivery Network, which they compared to Amazon Simple Storage Service or S3. That same month they raised $12 million in venture funding, and had raised the total capital to $70 million by May 2012.

They were providing public, private and hybrid cloud storage services across nine globally dispersed data centers. Things seemed to be going well.

Then in mid-September of 2013 customers were informed that Nirvanix was shutting down and they had just two weeks to get their data out of the Nirvanix storage cloud.

Analysts say that the Nirvanix specialization in storage alone is probably to blame. Other enormous-scale cloud storage vendors like Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Rackspace were major forces in a pricing war, but those other cloud providers had much more diversified offerings. It’s one thing to store data reliably, but it adds a great deal of value if you can run applications on top of that storage. The competing large cloud providers offered cloud compute services like Google Compute Engine, Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud, and (after its diversification from PaaS alone) Microsoft’s Windows Azure IaaS Linux and Windows products.

Another major factor was probably the change of IBM from customer to competitor. Nirvanix signed a five-year OEM agreement with IBM in early 2012, but in June 2013 IBM acquired SoftLayer and started a competing cloud storage service.

A little over three months later, Nirvanix was rapidly shutting down.

It’s not just the major cloud players marketing to giants like IBM. Cloud services marketed to small businesses and individuals also shutdown down suddenly. Back in June I described how I had just received a warning that T-Mobile’s “MobileLive Album” cloud storage service was shutting down and I had only 26 days to download all the data I had stored there.

I’m glad that I didn’t transfer data from my phone-associated cloud storage to my cable-and-Internet-associated cloud storage: I just received notice from Comcast/Xfinity that they are discontinuing their Secure Backup and Share service. “Files on Secure Backup & Share will be deleted and no longer available as of December 1, 2013.”

Always know how to get your data out of the cloud!

Bob Cromwell

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