The Cloud storage marketplace got quite a stare last week when storage provider Nirvanix abruptly closed its doors. Fortunately, they provided their customers with a few days to get their data off of the Nirvanix servers, but those customers are still left scrambling to move their bits to another provider without any business downtime.
The lesson for everyone who wasn’t a Nirvanix customer, however, wasn’t that you just dodged a bullet. On the contrary, the lesson is that the Nirvanix death spiral is but a hint of turbulence to come. We’re all so enamored of Cloud that we forget the entire space is still an emerging market, and emerging markets are inherently chaotic. Expect to see many other spectacular flameouts before the dust has settled.
In fact, the demise of Nirvanix could have been worse. They may have shuttered their doors without providing their customers a time window (and the necessary connectivity) to move their stuff off of the doomed drives. And what if they had declared a liquidation bankruptcy? Those drives may have ended up auctioned to the highest bidder – customer data included.
Does that mean that you should avoid the Cloud entirely until it’s matured? Possibly, but probably not – especially if you understand how the Cloud deals with failure. Remember, instead of trying to avoid failure, the Cloud provides automated recovery from failure. Furthermore, this principle is more than simply a configuration difference. It’s a fundamental architectural principle – a principle that should apply to all aspects of your Cloud usage, even if a service provider goes out of business.
Which Cloud company ended up on the positive side of this news? Oxygen Cloud – a Cloud storage broker I wrote about over two years ago. Oxygen Cloud abstracts the underlying storage provider, allowing you to move data off of one provider and onto another, in a way that is at least partially automated. And as you would expect, the entire Cloud brokerage marketplace is now forming, and the Nirvanix debacle will only serve to accelerate its adoption.
The silver lining to the Nirvanix Cloud story, therefore, is that following Cloud architecture best practices should help insulate you from the turbulent nature of the Cloud marketplace itself. But only, of course, if you get the architecture right.