Cloud storage provider Nirvanix is closing its doors

Two weeks' notice of service shutdown leaves customers scrambling to retrieve and move data to another cloud service

Cloud service provider Nirvanix may have inadvertently validated customers' fears centered around cloud storage. It was reported last week by U.K.-based website Information Age that Nirvanix has told its customers they have two weeks to find another home for their terabytes of data because the company was closing its doors and shutting down its service.

Founded in 2007, San Diego-based cloud storage provider Nirvanix, which targets enterprises with its public, hybrid, and private cloud storage services and usage-based pricing, had raised more than $70 million in venture capital funding, including a $25 million Series C round last May led by Khosla Ventures. Other investors in the company include Mission Ventures, Intel Capital, Valhalla Partners, and Windward Ventures.

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As of this writing, there is no information about the closure on the Nirvanix corporate website. However, numerous media and analyst reports say the company has been informing its customers and partners of its impending doom. The company is also reportedly telling its customers and partners that they can no longer replicate their storage or upload any more data to the Nirvanix cloud (probably a good call, all points considered).

Initial reports indicated that customers would have until Sept. 30 to retrieve their data from the cloud service. However, that deadline may have been extended to Oct. 15, giving customers an extra two-week reprieve. But with petabytes of data being hosted for a large number of geographically spread-out companies, the transfer and retrieval of that data will more than likely prove challenging -- and that's assuming everyone will be able to get their complete set of data.

Individual customers are not the only ones being affected with this closure. Nirvanix also has key vendor partnerships that will be impacted by the shutdown as well. IBM uses the Nirvanix cloud storage technology in its SmartCloud Enterprise portfolio, and other vendors such as Dell, HP, Riverbed, Symantec, and TwinStrata have sourced their cloud storage from Nirvanix when offering their own services. This latest news cuts far, wide, and deep.

According to Forrester research analyst Henry Baltazar, the news has left more than 1,000 customers scrambling to migrate stored data off the Nirvanix cloud service. In a recent Forrester blog post, Baltazar points out that the cloud provider's demise validates warnings that it is far easier to import data into the cloud than it is to recover large quantities of data or move that data to a new provider.

"The recent example with Nirvanix highlights why customers should also consider exit and migration strategies as they formulate their cloud storage deployments," writes Baltazar. "One of the most significant challenges in cloud storage is related to how difficult it is to move large amounts of data from a cloud. While bandwidth has increased significantly over the years, even over large network links it could take days or even weeks to retrieve terabytes or petabytes of data from a cloud. For example, on a 1Gbps link, it would take close to 13 days to retrieve 150TB of data from a cloud storage service over a WAN link."

Given that customers were supposedly given a short two-week window to migrate all of their data, the above example might give people pause, depending on how much data they have in the cloud and how fast (or slow) their connectivity is to it.

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