This week's surprise announcement by US cloud storage provider Nirvanix that customers have less than two weeks to get their data out before the company shuts down forever showed the harsh realities of public cloud competition.
But a bid by a major Nirvanix partner in the UK, and supported by IBM, may yet save the day, taking advantage of the potential flexibility of cloud.
London-based Aorta Cloud and sister company Aorta Capital are plan to shore up the troubled San Diego-based cloud vendor and make sure customer data remains available after Nirvanix's end-of-September deadline.
"Our current plan is to raise the funds to allow operations to continue in sustain mode (that is, no new business) for a minimum of two months to allow a stabilisation period and for proper financing to be put in place," writes Steve Ampleford, chief executive of Aorta Cloud and Aorta Capital, on its website.
"If nothing else, this will allow a more gentle managed exit for customers. [However] the intention is obviously to take the good work, great people and great technology forward as a going concern."
The company seems to have bigger plans than that. By midweek, Aorta had confirmed "a seven-figure commitment" to pump cash into the kick-start and a bank partner willing to match that investment.
The company believes it will be able to reduce costs by consolidating seven datacentres worldwide to two or three -- a move that will buy Nirvanix time to keep running and to figure out where to go next.
While Nirvanix started out competing on value, it got dragged into price wars with massive competitors like Google, Amazon.com, and Microsoft - larger competitors with depper pockets and with their own datacentres, used for their own purposes.
Nirvanix grew rapidly but unsustainably. Like a plane that trades speed for altitude, eventually it reached the point where there wasn't enough lift to avoid a stall.
Ampleford told Channelnomics that he believes there's an opportunity to take Nirvanix back to its roots, competing on value. The growth rates may not be as heady as before, but he believes that premium service can make the business sustainable.
"People are keen to keep their data, if they can, in a very similar environment. They've bought into the technology, the setup, and the people of Nirvanix. That hasn't changed. What's changed is the financial position," Ampleford said.
Aorta has addressed existing Nirvanix customers in an open letter on its website, to see if they would like a part to play in their future, by taking a stake in whatever package and structure results.
Ampleford said his company learned of Nirvanix's imminent closure by close of business on Monday. By 10pm local time that day, it had hatched its plan and posted its open letter to customers.
By Thursday, the company confirmed IBM as "an active participant in our attempt to drive forward a solution", and Ampleford had suggested that things are still moving rapidly on many fronts behind the scenes.
"The pace with which this has come together is a barometer of the desire to find a solution," Ampleford said.
Aorta is not the company's only channel partner. Nirvanix has worked with a worldwide network of VARs, MSPs, and other services providers -- some as resellers, and some as customers.
Ampleford said his team has started to envision the role his fellow Nirvanix partners could play should his bid to save Nirvanix be successful.
However, he also noted that it's too early in the process and there are still too many pieces as yet undecided to firmly map things out.
"There are a whole host of people involved in this, and we need to see if we can find a route forward," he said. "It's not going to be totally satisfactory to everybody, but if we can work out something that's at least tolerable to everybody, we've got to give it a go."
The company is still gathering customer feedback through the website, and welcomes contact with fellow Nirvanix partners interested in the effort to keep Nirvanix customers in the cloud.
As part of our special editorial partnership, CRN is republishing this article from Channelnomics
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