A services provider partnering with cloud storage service developer Nirvanix, which is in the process of closing down operations, is attempting to rally customers and investors to acquire Nirvanix and keep it running for at least as long as needed to migrate customers' data.
Steve Ampleford, CEO and co-founder of London-based sister companies Aorta Cloud and Aorta Capital, told CRN he is working with third-party investors, along with customers of failed cloud storage service technology provider Nirvanix, to help them consider acquiring Nirvanix.
Nirvanix, which this week warned customers they would have two weeks to move their data to another service, had everything going for it except financial stability, said Ampleford, whose company Aorta Cloud is also a Nirvanix partner.
"Nirvanix has good technology," he said. "It has a market. It has been growing aggressively. Demand is there for the Nirvanix product. But, it had financial problems."
Nirvanix provides enterprise-class public, private and hybrid cloud storage as a service. The company owns its own public cloud infrastructure based in multiple data centers, or nodes, around the world. It also uses its technology to help customers build private clouds using either the customer's own storage infrastructure or a segmented, non-shared part of the Nirvanix public cloud.
Ampleford, in an online open letter to Nirvanix customers, wrote that Aortal Cloud is working to structure a package to ensure Nirvanix can continue to operate and inviting customers and investors to participate.
"Given that customers have to remove their data (in many cases with multiple petabytes) before the end of September we have to be swift," he wrote.
Ampleford's plan is to run Nirvanix in "sustain mode" without accepting new business for at least two months to give the company time to stabilize. "If nothing else this will allow a more gentle managed exit for customers, but the intention is obviously to take the good work, great people and great technology forward as a going concern," he wrote.
The two weeks that Nirvanix gave customers for moving their data is insufficient, Ampleford told CRN.
"It's going to be a helluva job," he said. "Which is another reason for customers to be interested in staying on the Nirvanix service. How in two weeks can you expect to find another supplier, sign agreements, and migrate the data?"
NEXT: Seeing Interest In Keeping Nirvanix AliveMany Nirvanix customers used the company's cloud storage platform to handle mission-critical data, with one in particular having an online data store of about 20 petabytes. "Nirvanix had happy customers yesterday," Aorta's Ampleford said. "The only thing that has changed is its financial situation."
Several Nirvanix customers and third-party investors have already shown interest in working on a solution to keep Nirvanix running. Those customers, who contacted Ampleford after his letter was posted, are not customers of Aorta Cloud. Ampleford said he did not reach out to those customers. "It would be immoral for me to contact other service providers' customers," he said.
Aorta Cloud did send a letter to its own Nirvanix customers, but so far only heard back from one of them who had a technical question. Those customers understand that Nirvanix powers Aorta Cloud's storage service, but they depend on Aorta Cloud to manage their services, he said.
"Aorta customers are agnostic as to where we keep the data," he said. "They work with us, not Nirvanix. The natural business pattern is to plan for the unforeseen. Does [the Nirvanix news] impact us? Yes. Will it impact our customers? No."
While sister company Aorta Capital is a boutique investment firm, it is not coming in to take over Nirvanix on its own, Ampleford said. However, the company does have experience in services related to corporate restructuring.
"We're not coming in as a hostile party to take it over, or act as a broker," he said. "We see this as a way we can work for customers to continue the service. Maybe we will have a big equity stake. Maybe we will have a small stake. But, the only way this will work is if we can keep Nirvanix running."
Keeping large cloud storage providers with competitive offerings is another important reason to keep Nirvanix running, Ampleford said.
"I want the marketplace to continue and to avoid a defective competitive environment, which is what we would have if Nirvanix goes down," he said.
PUBLISHED SEPT. 18, 2013