Report: Iron Mountain to shutter cloud storage service

Iron Mountain to assist customers in migrating to other storage platforms

After only two years, Iron Mountain is planning to close its public cloud storage services, having already stopped accepting new customers as of April 1, according to market research firm Gartner.

The company will close its Virtual File Store services, which is targeted at archival of inactive file data, and its Archive Service Platform, which allows software vendors to integrate the Iron Mountain API to leverage the company's cloud architecture.

Iron Mountain's Virtual File Store, offered through the Boston-based vendor's Digital Division, was marketed as an enterprise-class archiving service that gives users a lower-cost means of storing and managing static data files than keeping them on in-house systems.

Iron Mountain told Gartner that it will continue to offer services to its current cloud storage customers as it also helps them migrate to another provider or return their data.

An Iron Mountain spokeswoman said the company has notified its customers that it plans to close its cloud service, according to an email response to a Computerworld inquiry. "As the Gartner report notes, public cloud service offerings like these have seen modest levels of adoption," the response stated.

Iron Mountain plans to shut down its online storage business no sooner than the first half of 2013.

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.

Archive Service Platform customers have no migration path and are being terminated or moved to an alternative service provider, according to Gartner.

Iron Mountain's announcement makes it the third public cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) provider to abandon the market over the past year, Gartner said. The others that have shut down are: Vaultscape, which launched its service in 2009 and closed in 2010, and EMC, which announced Atmos Online in 2009 and took it offline a year later.

"To date, public cloud storage IaaS has had a modest level of adoption. Not incidentally, all three service providers' go-to-market strategies focused purely on cloud storage unaccompanied by any cloud compute services. Now, only Nirvanix and Zetta remain as pure-play public cloud providers of network attached storage," Gartner said in a statement.

In response to the impending closure of the storage-as-a-service offering, Nirvanix on Sunday said it will offer all current Iron Mountain customers free data migration services to its Nirvanix Cloud Storage Network, along 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," the company said in a statement.

Two years ago, Gartner had predicted in a report that less than one-third of cloud storage companies would see a return on their investment by 2011. "When announcing Iron Mountain's exit from this market segment, Digital Services Executive Vice President David Jones acknowledged that part of the motivation included profitability pressures," Gartner said.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian, or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

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