EMC Suddenly Cedes the Clouds

By Nicole Hemsoth

July 4, 2010

There are cool ways to get a certain message across…even when that message is a painful one.

 

 

And you know, there are not-so-cool ways to do the exact same thing. 

Perhaps EMC, who suddenly announced they were not allowing customers to “leverage” their services–and to get out asap–should have instructed their web designers to remove the banner that proclaims in peaceful hues of lime green and turquoise, “Leverage the POWER of the cloud” considering that it is followed by the announcement:

Dear Atmos Online Customers,

We are no longer planning to support production usage of Atmos Online. Going forward, 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 partners who offer production services”

To summarize the rest: pack up your stuff and go. Because there’s no support for Atmos. We are not providing any SLA or availability guarantees so hurry—migrate anything that matters to one of our partners. Like now. Yes, now.

Oh and…

“You are welcome to continue leveraging Atmos Online for development purposes as needed. These changes also do not affect our commitment to your success”

Well, now that you put it that way, EMC, here just before the fourth of July when your users were all nice and prepared for hot dogs and fireworks and now will instead be engaged in frantic migration attempts with minimal support, that makes it all seem a little better. Really.

Perspective on EMC’s Decision—and the Implications

There is no question that this is fodder for arguments against clouds as reliable and cost-effective paradigm shifts for IT since from here, it certainly looks like there has been no warning. If it was any other company, perhaps one that wasn’t as well known, the fear would be that they would disappear altogether–data in tow.

Info-Tech Research Group put EMC in their ranks of Rising Stars in March because, according to Info-Tech’s Research Analyst Laura Hansen-Kohls, at the time they seemed to have great promise. In an interview on Friday with HPC in the Cloud, Hansen-Kohls stated, “when we spoke with them before they were named a rising star, they were a major storage vendor so they had the market share edge that was on par with someone like Amazon would have, but also, at least when we spoke to them, they seemed to be making a significant investment in the cloud even though it was clear they didn’t have a defined strategy. Still, we felt that once they got the marketing push underway and communicated more clearly they could have competed with Amazon but from what we understand now, the competition with their partners was too direct so they decided to exit.”

While this is a perfectly valid and easy to understand reason for EMC’s sudden decision to pull all support and leave customers hanging without notice, it seems like there has to be something else going on here—what could have caused a company that has spent a significant amount of money and effort getting the word out about Atmos to abandon it in a way that leaves me looking for stronger phrases than “rudely abrupt” if there are any. Some have suggested that the costs suddenly became too heavy to bear all of a sudden and others have contended that agreements with their partners led to an immediate arrangement for them to stop competing or suffer the consequences. No one from EMC has responded to my queries and for those who did receive responses, they don’t go far beyond the cryptic letter on their website.

An Important Reminder

Hansen-Kohls suggests that this news does not bode well for the long-term perception of clouds, especially for smaller enterprises. She stated, “When Amazon got into cloud, for example, they did it because they had all this excess capacity and they could rent it out for a price without any data center or other major capital investment—when you’ve got vendors like EMC, they might not have that capacity just sitting around to sell so it could be that their investment was costing more than they were actually making—this is conjecture—it could be the revenue stream in wasn’t enough to offset the cost.”

In other words, it is critical to evaluate the business model of any cloud vendor before taking the plunge—not just what their existing SLAs seem to represent. If it isn’t clear that they have the resources to begin with and those resources are being culled sustainably, then it is not a good idea. Period.

When I asked Laura Hansen-Kohls whether or not there will likely be other companies with similar offerings jumping ship and taking the customer life rafts with them, she paused for quite some time before responding (although to be fair, I did catch her off guard). She replied, “Most of the other vendors we’ve spoken with GoGrid and Joyent for example, have a clear vision of what they want to achieve and have a plan to get it. Joyent will admit to this readily, but they’ve also suffered from an unclear message. They’re going through a rebranding process and are starting to pick up the pace so I think they’re aware of some of the misconceptions that float around in the cloud and the source of confusion that is caused by the marketing terminology since marketing ran away with the term before the tech was refined. Joyent could have had a similar problem to EMC but they’re picking up fast enough and gaining ground.”

The main message here, to quote Hansen-Kolhls, is that “knowing your risk tolerance when you go into the cloud is critical. If you’re putting data in the cloud you can’t live without, such as in a case like this, you have to know what your risk tolerance is for losing that data for a certain amount of time. If there are compliance restrictions, for instance, they can’t tolerate this at all—this is a real kick in the argument against moving into the cloud. EMC is not making any promises how long they’ll keep the data there.”

Like many others who read the news, which was so thoughtlessly timed with the closing bell on a pre-holiday Friday in the United States, Hansen-Kohl’s response to the customer email cited above was, “ I read it and I was shocked. No SLA, no production–get your data out because there’s no guarantee it will be here. It so sudden—there was no forewarning, thus no giving anyone time to transition—the enterprises who move to the cloud need a contingency plan so they can get their data out when something like this happens.
 

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

How the United States Invests in Supercomputing

November 14, 2018

The CORAL supercomputers Summit and Sierra are now the world's fastest computers and are already contributing to science with early applications. Ahead of SC18, Maciej Chojnowski with ICM at the University of Warsaw discussed the details of the CORAL project with Dr. Dimitri Kusnezov from the U.S. Department of Energy. Read more…

By Maciej Chojnowski

At SC18: Humanitarianism Amid Boom Times for HPC

November 14, 2018

At SC18 in Dallas, the feeling on the ground is one of forward-looking buoyancy. Like boom times that cycle through the Texas oil fields, the HPC industry is enjoying a prosperity seen only every few decades, one driven Read more…

By Doug Black

Nvidia’s Jensen Huang Delivers Vision for the New HPC

November 14, 2018

For nearly two hours on Monday at SC18, Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, presented his expansive view of the future of HPC (and computing in general) as only he can do. Animated. Backstopped by a stream of data charts, produ Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

AI Can Be Scary. But Choosing the Wrong Partners Can Be Mortifying!

As you continue to dive deeper into AI, you will discover it is more than just deep learning. AI is an extremely complex set of machine learning, deep learning, reinforcement, and analytics algorithms with varying compute, storage, memory, and communications needs. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

New Data Management Techniques for Intelligent Simulations

The trend in high performance supercomputer design has evolved – from providing maximum compute capability for complex scalable science applications, to capacity computing utilizing efficient, cost-effective computing power for solving a small number of large problems or a large number of small problems. Read more…

New Panasas High Performance Storage Straddles Commercial-Traditional HPC

November 13, 2018

High performance storage vendor Panasas has launched a new version of its ActiveStor product line this morning featuring what the company said is the industry’s first plug-and-play, portable parallel file system that delivers up to 75 Gb/s per rack on industry standard hardware combined with “enterprise-grade reliability and manageability.” Read more…

By Doug Black

How the United States Invests in Supercomputing

November 14, 2018

The CORAL supercomputers Summit and Sierra are now the world's fastest computers and are already contributing to science with early applications. Ahead of SC18, Maciej Chojnowski with ICM at the University of Warsaw discussed the details of the CORAL project with Dr. Dimitri Kusnezov from the U.S. Department of Energy. Read more…

By Maciej Chojnowski

At SC18: Humanitarianism Amid Boom Times for HPC

November 14, 2018

At SC18 in Dallas, the feeling on the ground is one of forward-looking buoyancy. Like boom times that cycle through the Texas oil fields, the HPC industry is en Read more…

By Doug Black

Nvidia’s Jensen Huang Delivers Vision for the New HPC

November 14, 2018

For nearly two hours on Monday at SC18, Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, presented his expansive view of the future of HPC (and computing in general) as only he can Read more…

By John Russell

New Panasas High Performance Storage Straddles Commercial-Traditional HPC

November 13, 2018

High performance storage vendor Panasas has launched a new version of its ActiveStor product line this morning featuring what the company said is the industry’s first plug-and-play, portable parallel file system that delivers up to 75 Gb/s per rack on industry standard hardware combined with “enterprise-grade reliability and manageability.” Read more…

By Doug Black

SC18 Student Cluster Competition – Revealing the Field

November 13, 2018

It’s November again and we’re almost ready for the kick-off of one of the greatest computer sports events in the world – the SC Student Cluster Competitio Read more…

By Dan Olds

US Leads Supercomputing with #1, #2 Systems & Petascale Arm

November 12, 2018

The 31st Supercomputing Conference (SC) - commemorating 30 years since the first Supercomputing in 1988 - kicked off in Dallas yesterday, taking over the Kay Ba Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

OpenACC Talks Up Summit and Community Momentum at SC18

November 12, 2018

OpenACC – the directives-based parallel programing model for optimizing applications on heterogeneous architectures – is showcasing user traction and HPC im Read more…

By John Russell

How ASCI Revolutionized the World of High-Performance Computing and Advanced Modeling and Simulation

November 9, 2018

The 1993 Supercomputing Conference was held in Portland, Oregon. That conference and it’s show floor provided a good snapshot of the uncertainty that U.S. supercomputing was facing in the early 1990s. Many of the companies exhibiting that year would soon be gone, either bankrupt or acquired by somebody else. Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Cray Unveils Shasta, Lands NERSC-9 Contract

October 30, 2018

Cray revealed today the details of its next-gen supercomputing architecture, Shasta, selected to be the next flagship system at NERSC. We've known of the code-name "Shasta" since the Argonne slice of the CORAL project was announced in 2015 and although the details of that plan have changed considerably, Cray didn't slow down its timeline for Shasta. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

TACC Wins Next NSF-funded Major Supercomputer

July 30, 2018

The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) has won the next NSF-funded big supercomputer beating out rivals including the National Center for Supercomputing Ap Read more…

By John Russell

IBM at Hot Chips: What’s Next for Power

August 23, 2018

With processor, memory and networking technologies all racing to fill in for an ailing Moore’s law, the era of the heterogeneous datacenter is well underway, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Requiem for a Phi: Knights Landing Discontinued

July 25, 2018

On Monday, Intel made public its end of life strategy for the Knights Landing "KNL" Phi product set. The announcement makes official what has already been wide Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

House Passes $1.275B National Quantum Initiative

September 17, 2018

Last Thursday the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Quantum Initiative Act (NQIA) intended to accelerate quantum computing research and developm Read more…

By John Russell

CERN Project Sees Orders-of-Magnitude Speedup with AI Approach

August 14, 2018

An award-winning effort at CERN has demonstrated potential to significantly change how the physics based modeling and simulation communities view machine learni Read more…

By Rob Farber

Summit Supercomputer is Already Making its Mark on Science

September 20, 2018

Summit, now the fastest supercomputer in the world, is quickly making its mark in science – five of the six finalists just announced for the prestigious 2018 Read more…

By John Russell

New Deep Learning Algorithm Solves Rubik’s Cube

July 25, 2018

Solving (and attempting to solve) Rubik’s Cube has delighted millions of puzzle lovers since 1974 when the cube was invented by Hungarian sculptor and archite Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

US Leads Supercomputing with #1, #2 Systems & Petascale Arm

November 12, 2018

The 31st Supercomputing Conference (SC) - commemorating 30 years since the first Supercomputing in 1988 - kicked off in Dallas yesterday, taking over the Kay Ba Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

TACC’s ‘Frontera’ Supercomputer Expands Horizon for Extreme-Scale Science

August 29, 2018

The National Science Foundation and the Texas Advanced Computing Center announced today that a new system, called Frontera, will overtake Stampede 2 as the fast Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE No. 1, IBM Surges, in ‘Bucking Bronco’ High Performance Server Market

September 27, 2018

Riding healthy U.S. and global economies, strong demand for AI-capable hardware and other tailwind trends, the high performance computing server market jumped 28 percent in the second quarter 2018 to $3.7 billion, up from $2.9 billion for the same period last year, according to industry analyst firm Hyperion Research. Read more…

By Doug Black

Intel Announces Cooper Lake, Advances AI Strategy

August 9, 2018

Intel's chief datacenter exec Navin Shenoy kicked off the company's Data-Centric Innovation Summit Wednesday, the day-long program devoted to Intel's datacenter Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Germany Celebrates Launch of Two Fastest Supercomputers

September 26, 2018

The new high-performance computer SuperMUC-NG at the Leibniz Supercomputing Center (LRZ) in Garching is the fastest computer in Germany and one of the fastest i Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Houston to Field Massive, ‘Geophysically Configured’ Cloud Supercomputer

October 11, 2018

Based on some news stories out today, one might get the impression that the next system to crack number one on the Top500 would be an industrial oil and gas mon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

MLPerf – Will New Machine Learning Benchmark Help Propel AI Forward?

May 2, 2018

Let the AI benchmarking wars begin. Today, a diverse group from academia and industry – Google, Baidu, Intel, AMD, Harvard, and Stanford among them – releas Read more…

By John Russell

Google Releases Machine Learning “What-If” Analysis Tool

September 12, 2018

Training machine learning models has long been time-consuming process. Yesterday, Google released a “What-If Tool” for probing how data point changes affect a model’s prediction. The new tool is being launched as a new feature of the open source TensorBoard web application... Read more…

By John Russell

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This