Nirvanix cloud storage shutdown put off until at least 15 October

Up and down arrows in a cloud
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UK-based Aorta Cloud has assured Nirvanix customers that it is working on guaranteeing the continuity of the firm's services beyond 15 October.

The cloud storage provider launched an appeal for industry help in financing a rescue package for customers caught out by the demise of San Diego-based start-up Nirvanix on 16 September.

According to reports, the enterprise-focused cloud storage player had given customers until 30 September to move their data off its platform, before it pulls the plug for good.

In the wake of the news, Aorta Cloud moved to assure customers that it is working on a rescue package that will see it take over the running of its services for at least several months.

The day after making its initial appeal for help, the London-based company confirmed that it had received a “seven figure commitment” of funding, which will be matched by an unidentified bank.

“Our current thinking is that if we could consolidate the seven global datacentres into two or three...this will allow time for consolidation and for a more considered strategic response,” Steve Ampleford, CEO of Aorta Cloud and its sister company Aorta Capital, said in a statement.

He then called on the firm’s existing customers to express their interest in financing Nirvanix's future.

“After all, the hurdles for existing customers to move their data are substantial and if there is any way that we can help Nirvanix continue its operations, this has to be a preferable scenario,” Ampleford added.

“The technology is robust and solid, the business is credible, the market clearly exists and demand is there. We must be able to find a way forward together.”

In a further statement, released at the end of last week, the company said several firms - including IBM and BroadCloud - had pledged to support the company's plight.

"We are making considerable progress; there are a number of options available but these still need technical validation before anything can be formally presented to the community," said Ampleford.

"At present the primary focus has been upon the public cloud customer base and we still need to work out a suitable solution for those with local nodes in their own datacentres that do not propogate out to the Nirvanix cloud, and those that connect direct via API(s) but we're working on it," he continued.

On Friday 20 September, Aorta Cloud said it now has an outage-free, "viable solution" in place for the majority of customers that should result in "full continuity of service".

This was backed by a Tweet sent from the firm's Twitter account earlier today, which stated the firm was "progressing towards continuity of service beyond 15th October with no outage."

Nirvanix swith-off

News of Nirvanix's apparent demise appears to have come as something of a shock to industry watchers, with many expressing their disbelief at the short amount of time users have to migrate their data on social networking site Twitter.

Cloud Pro has contacted the firm, asking for further clarification about its alleged shutdown, and was still awaiting a response at the time of publication.

The company was founded in 2007, and – as stated on the Nirvanix website – has received $70 million in investment during that time.

However, it has been rocked in recent times by the departures of several key execs. Meanwhile, industry sources have indicated to Cloud Pro that several of the firm’s larger customers have taken their business elsewhere in recent months.

Details about the number of customers that are likely to be affected by this news is hard to come by, but the firm did sign a deal with tech giant IBM in 2011 to help underpin its SmartCloud technology.

When asked how Nirvanix's reported troubles are likely to affect Big Blue, Cloud Pro was informed the company would be issuing a statement in due course.

Speaking to Cloud Pro, Simon Robinson, research vice president for storage at analyst 451 Research, said, if reports of the company’s demise are true, it will do little to ease concerns about the risks associated with using cloud storage.

“Nirvanix was trying to become a service provider, [which] means it had to invest in building physical infrastructure to store customer data. In my opinion, that is not where a startup should be focusing,” he said.

“Ultimately, I believe the fact they had to make large capex investments that added very little value, and not enough true differentiation through software, did for them.”

This article was originally published on 18 September, but was updated to reflect response to Aorta Cloud's fundraising efforts.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.