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EMC shuts down online cloud storage service

Atmos offering could have pitted EMC against its service provider customers, analysts said

July 1, 2010 05:53 PM ET

Computerworld - EMC plans to shut down its Atmos Online cloud storage service immediately, according to a posting on its website.

EMC said its hosted storage service will be phased out immediately, and it is offering no guarantee that any current users storing data on it will be able to retrieve it in the future.

"As a result, we strongly encourage that you migrate any critical data or production workloads currently served via Atmos Online to one of our partners offering Atmos based services," EMC instructed users on its site.

EMC started Atmos Online a little more than a year ago, but the service never took off, according to industry analysts.

An EMC spokesman said as the number of service providers adopting EMC Atmos technology continues to expand, the company decided not to announce the general availability of the Atmos Online storage service for production use.

"The strength of the Atmos ecosystem is predominantly based on the service providers who deliver Atmos-based services and [Internet service providers] who integrate with the technology," he said. "EMC will focus on evolving this ecosystem and allow Atmos Online to take a supporting role."

EMC said Atmos Online will remain available strictly as a development environment to foster adoption of Atmos technology and Atmos cloud services "offered by our continuously expanding range of Service Provider partners who offer production services."

EMC originally began selling Atmos as a software product in November 2008 to service providers setting up their own online cloud offerings.

Terri McClure, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group in Milford, Mass., said EMC chose to shutter its Atmos Online service to avoid competing with its software customers.

"They're out there trying to sell Atmos as a service provider tool and, while there's always been coopetition in that market, this was a little too much in direct competition with its partners," she said.

This is not the first time EMC has toyed with being a storage service provider. In the early 2000, the company set up hosting service, more as a lab than anything else, but ended up not launching it. "They were back and forth on whether they should," McClure said. Even with Atmos Online, EMC never set up service level agreements.

According to a recent survey of more than 1,100 IT decision makers, private and public cloud storage is nowhere near taking off.

Only 14% of respondents said that their companies are piloting or implementing private or public cloud-based storage technologies. If cloud technologies are used, the respondents said they would likely be in the form of private cloud systems.

McClure said the survey results correspond with ESG's own research but that cloud storage is still very nascent. That said, "companies are still very concern with the security of their information," she said.

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

Read more about Cloud Computing in Computerworld's Cloud Computing Topic Center.



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