From The Expert Feature Article
September 24, 2013

Death of Nirvanix Has Cloud Backup Rivals Licking Their Chops

If you go to the Nirvanix (News - Alert) website, you’d think this company was at the top of its game. Not just business as usual, but this outfit is positively flying – the company is bragging about glowing reports from Gartner and Forrester (News - Alert). And its investors include Intel and superstar financier Vinod Khosla.

All that braggadocio hides the sorry fact that Nirvanix is apparently toes up.

With all that pedigree, Nirvanix clearly loused up its business, and did a worse job with its shut down. It has to this day never made a formal announcement. Instead it privately told customers they have till Oct. 15 to get their backup data onto another service. That ain’t exactly a lot of time, especially for a decent size enterprise. You have to find a new provider and work out the migration arrangements. And unless you have some killer pipes, it could take a while to move the data even after the migration process is established.

Other cloud providers are stepping into the breach. One such opportunist is Attunity Ltd., which is offering to move customers off Nirvanix and onto Amazon Web Services (News - Alert) (AWS). My guess? Amazon will be in business for a quite a while.

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Attunity claims it can move Nirvanix backup smoothly to its AWS' S3 Cloud.

Nirvanix told customers to stop replicating data to its cloud starting yesterday. It wimped out by sending e-mails to customers saying “We are notifying you as soon as possible after making this decision so that you can make alternative plans for storage service. Nirvanix will have resources available to continue to provide service between now and Oct. 15 for you to download your data free of charge.” Class? I think not.

Attunity, meanwhile, it pitching its CloudBeam service, a managed tool that is all about moving data to Amazon S3.

“We are excited to welcome Nirvanix customers to use our CloudBeam technology so they have access to an easy data integration solution to run their businesses effectively, without any unplanned disruptions,” said Shimon Alon, Chairman and CEO at Attunity. “Since customer service is our main priority, we are offering immediate use of our managed service solution to ensure that Nirvanix customers experience a seamless transition in this emergency situation.” 

Nasuni Weighs in

Online Backup concern Nasuni weighed in as well. In fact, Nasuni used to track Nirvanix performance but stopped after seeing some poor results.

Nasuni CEO Andres Rodriguez blogged about the Nirvanix downfall. “When Nasuni first started, we gave our customers the choice of any cloud storage provider they wanted to use with our storage controller – one of which was Nirvanix.  Then, two years ago, we chose to integrate cloud storage, our storage controllers, and our system monitoring into a single fully-integrated solution – much like traditional storage OEMs have done for years,” Rodriguez wrote. “Due to the solution’s dependency on the public cloud storage providers, we focused countless hours evaluating the different options in the cloud storage market.  We conducted thorough testing of the mainstream cloud storage providers (including Nirvanix) and published the results in our annual Cloud Storage Provider performance reports.  These reports show that only Amazon S3 and Microsoft (News - Alert) Azure meet our standards for reliability and performance.  As a result, we migrated all customers to one of these two providers, and continue to use only S3 and Azure as our backend.  And, even with these two providers, we’ve developed additional backstops such as cloud mirroring in case of cloud provider outages or full-on failure.”

Nasuni doesn’t think the Nirvanix problems are any reason to dismiss cloud backup. “While the exit of Nirvanix from the cloud service provider market will cause many people to pause and question storing corporate data in the cloud, we know that cloud storage is definitely enterprise-ready, but only if you use an enterprise-ready service,” Rodriguez said.

Nirvanix Nevermore

The downfall of Nirvanix is the worst thing to ever happen to the small cloud storage provider market.

Cloud backup purveyors will have to face down questions about the reliability of their services, in addition to continuing to deal with the old adage “you can’t trust the cloud”?

At first blush, Nirvanix seemed to be one of the larger more stable cloud storage players. It appeared to have a highly experienced executive staff, some 1,200 customers, and has raised $70 million – including $25 million just last year.

Unfair Disadvantage

Nirvanix obviously faced some difficult challenges, but it not only bungled its business, it made a mess if it’s closing. You can’t let such a thing leak out, and then on the Web site act like nothing happened and refuse to comment when the press reaches out.

And it is a travesty that the company made no arrangements for its customers. Could it not sell itself for super cheap, even free, to a cloud storage vendor that could take over its accounts? And does it not care what happens to its customers, other cloud storage vendors, and the entire cloud storage category?

This all plays right into the hands of the largest vendors who will presumably be more trusted. But get this. Nirvanix is the basis of IBM’s (News - Alert) SmartCloud storage service. Think you can still only trust the big boys?

I for one am going to cover smaller cloud storage providers and give them all the benefit of the doubt. Why should they suffer from Nirvanix’s apparent stupidity?

Edited by Alisen Downey