By Andrew R Hickey
Iron Mountain will shutter its public cloud storage services, making it the third storage player to deep six its public cloud play in the last year.
According to research firm Gartner, Iron Mountain will eliminate its Virtual File Store service and its Archive Service Platform offering no sooner than the first half of 2013, and the Boston-based company has stopped taking on new customers for the services as of April 1.
"On April 8, 2011, Iron Mountain confirmed that it is sunsetting its public cloud storage business," Gartner wrote in a research note on Iron Mountain ditching the public cloud. In the note, Gartner wrote Digital Services Executive Vice President David Jones that "profitability pressures" played a role in Iron Mountain leaving the public cloud.
In a statement e-mailed to CRN, Iron Mountain wrote: "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. 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. As the Gartner report notes, public cloud service offerings like these have seen modest levels of adoption."
Iron Mountain said it will still offer services to its current cloud storage customers, help them migrate to another provider or return the data, Gartner wrote.
"Virtual File Store customers that stay with Iron Mountain will be transferred to a higher-value offering, File System Archiving (FSA) in 2012. The new offering will be a hybrid that leverages policy-based archiving on site and in the cloud with indexing and classification capabilities," Gartner wrote, adding that "Archive Service Platform customers have no migration path and are being terminated or moved to an alternative service provider."
Iron Mountain launched Virtual File Store in February 2009. As part of its Digital Archiving and Storage-as-a-Service portfolio under the Iron Mountain Digital umbrella, the service was billed as an enterprise-class, cloud-based storage archiving service designed to cut the costs of storing and managing static data files and was for the archival of inactive file data.
In October 2009, Iron Mountain opened its Archive Service Platform up to application providers like corporate developers and ISVs, enabling them to offer cloud storage with their applications. The platform let software vendors integrate the Iron Mountain API to leverage its cloud architecture.
Iron Mountain is the third public cloud IaaS provider in less than a year to bow out of the public cloud storage race, which Gartner said jibes its 2009 prediction that said less than one-third of cloud investments would reach ROI by this year.
"Iron Mountain is the third vendor to drop out of the public cloud storage market to concentrate on other technology areas," Gartner wrote.
Iron Mountain follows startup Vaultscape, which launched a public cloud storage service in 2009 and shut it down a year later, Gartner wrote. And in July 2010 EMC axed its Atmos Online public cloud storage offering, which it launched in 2009. At the time, EMC (NYSE:EMC) said conflicts with service providers prompted the Atmos Online shutdown.
Iron Mountain abandoning the market now leaves only a pair of pure-play public cloud providers of network attached storage, Nirvanix and Zetta.
In its research note, Gartner recommends that Iron Mountain public cloud storage customers accept Iron Mountain's offer to assist with migrating to alternate providers, as no incremental costs will be associated with the move. Gartner also advised that the company negotiate with new cloud storage service providers to wave ingestion charges or negotiate with Iron Mountain to pay them, and investigate the new FSA offering to see if it offers value for the company.