My colleague, Jay Heiser, also has a good take on this in his blog. I will not repeat his thoughts.
Multiple media outlets have been reporting that Nirvanix, a popular public cloud storage provider is closing down and giving customers
only two weeks (now reports are October 15 instead of September 30) to get their data off the service. Further providing evidence to this fact, Gartner has been receiving client inquiry requests in the last 24 hours from Nirvanix customers asking for immediate planning assistance in moving off the Nirvanix service.
What are clients do to? For most – react…and react in panic. You have 2 weeks. Go! You don’t have time to worry about how much data you have stored there. You don’t have time to upgrade network connections or bandwidth. You don’t have time to order large drives or arrays to ship to the provider to get your data back. You may not even get any support from the provider! You may be facing the worst company fear – losing actual data.
Gartner has been advocating the importance of Cloud Exit Strategies to clients for some time. In Gartner for Technical Professionals, we even published a very comprehensive strategy document titled, “Devising a Cloud Exit Strategy: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance“. I’m sad to say however, that compared to many other Gartner research documents, this document has not seen nearly the amount of demand or uptake from our clients. Why is that? I suspect it is because cloud exits are not nearly as sexy as cloud deployments – they are an afterthought. It’s analogous to Disaster Recovery and other mundane IT risk mitigation responsibilities. These functions rarely receive the attention they deserve in IT, except for immediately following major events like Hurricane Sandy or 9/11.
Does that mean this news regarding Nirvanix will be a catalyst for cloud customers to pay attention to the importance of building exit strategies? Perhaps.
If you are a Nirvanix customer, it’s too late to build a strategy. Drop whatever you are doing and get as much of the data as you can back immediately.
If you are a customer of any other cloud service (that is basically all of us) – take some time and build a cloud exit strategy/plan for every service you depend upon. Cloud providers will continue to go out of business. It may not be a frequent occurrence, but it will happen. And even if your cloud provider does not go out of business, here is a list of many other factors which many signal you needing to exit a cloud service:
- Provider’s services less reliable than advertised in SLAs, contracts or expressed expectations
- Soured relationship with provider
- Change in service levels
- Change of provider ownership
- Change of price
- Change of terms and conditions
- Expiration of enterprise agreement or contract
- Lack of support
- Data, security or privacy breach
- Provider inability to stay competitive with industry features
- Repeated or prolonged outages
- Lack of remuneration for services lost
- Change of internal leadership, strategy or corporate direction
Cloud customers, don’t delay. All the risk mitigation tasks you would do if one of your in-house application vendors suddenly went out of business, ideally should be done in advance before leveraging cloud services. Exit strategies are important and necessary insurance policies. Don’t be caught off guard.