Here's unusual news in this era of exploding data stores: A major player is shutting down, not expanding, some of its cloud storage services.
Iron Mountain Digital, which got into the cloud storage race late in 2009, told eWEEK April 11 that it is "retiring" its commodity-type public storage services, Virtual File Store and Archive Service Platform.
The company is planning to phase completely out of the basic online storage business by 2013, making IMD the first major player in cloud storage to pull out of the sector.
Iron Mountain Digital, however, is not closing down all its cloud storage services. Rather than compete in a tough race with companies such as Amazon S3, Google, EMC Mozy, Carbonite, CommVault and others to sell basic online storage space, the Boston-based company will be focusing instead on specialized services around storage, such as intellectual property management and e-discovery for legal purposes.
"Iron Mountain did recently notify customers of our Virtual File Store and Archive Service Platform that we are retiring these two commodity cloud-storage solutions," an Iron Mountain spokeswoman told eWEEK via email on April 11.
"This decision only affects those using Virtual File Store, a low-cost cloud storage option for inactive files, and technology partners who use the Archive Service Platform as a general purpose cloud for storing their customers' data."
Never Have Been in Commodity Business
Brian Babineau, storage analyst and vice president of research for Enterprise Strategy Group, told eWEEK that he wasn't surprised at this development.
"They [Iron Mountain] have never been in the 'commodity' business," Babineau said. "They are the first ones 'out' of the business, but there weren't that many in the first place.
"It is also time for them to focus a bit more. They will be in the 'application' business delivered via the cloud, such as archiving and eDiscovery. I would much rather be in those than in the commodity capacity business, especially when the competition is Amazon, Google, et cetera."
Yankee Group storage analyst Zeus Kerravala had a slightly different take.
"It's a decision that IM will regret for a long time. It's like Xerox giving up on Windows," Kerravala told eWEEK.
"From everything I have seen, cloud storage holds a lot of promise, particularly for archival purposes. The market is wide open right now."
Demand Isn't Quite There Yet
Most companies are experimenting with storage, so the demand isn't there yet, Kerravala said.
"IMD exiting is no indicator of lack of demand or market potential," Kerravala said. "This should have been a good growth opportunity for them. The exit says more about Iron Mountain Digital than it does about cloud storage."
Fast-growing cloud storage provider Nirvanix, which knows an opportunity when it sees it, immediately announced that it will offer all current Iron Mountain customers free data migration services to its Nirvanix Cloud Storage Network-to go with free unlimited storage for 30 days.
"Nirvanix is also offering stranded Iron Mountain customers the option of implementing a hybrid, federated cloud or private cloud storage solution-all with the same usage-based pricing, global namespace and elastic flexibility of its public cloud," Nirvanix said.