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!

Talk to Me: Nvidia Claims NLP Inference, Training Records

August 15, 2019

Nvidia says it’s achieved significant advances in conversation natural language processing (NLP) training and inference, enabling more complex, immediate-response interchanges between customers and chatbots. And the co Read more…

By Doug Black

Trump Administration and NIST Issue AI Standards Development Plan

August 14, 2019

Efforts to develop AI are gathering steam fast. On Monday, the White House issued a federal plan to help develop technical standards for AI following up on a mandate contained in the Administration’s AI Executive Order Read more…

By John Russell

Scientists to Tap Exascale Computing to Unlock the Mystery of our Accelerating Universe

August 14, 2019

The universe and everything in it roared to life with the Big Bang approximately 13.8 billion years ago. It has continued expanding ever since. While we have a good understanding of the early universe, its fate billions Read more…

By Rob Johnson

AWS Solution Channel

Efficiency and Cost-Optimization for HPC Workloads – AWS Batch and Amazon EC2 Spot Instances

High Performance Computing on AWS leverages the power of cloud computing and the extreme scale it offers to achieve optimal HPC price/performance. With AWS you can right size your services to meet exactly the capacity requirements you need without having to overprovision or compromise capacity. Read more…

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Bring the combined power of HPC and AI to your business transformation

FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) acceleration cards are not new, as they’ve been commercially available since 1984. Typically, the emphasis around FPGAs has centered on the fact that they’re programmable accelerators, and that they can truly offer workload specific hardware acceleration solutions without requiring custom silicon. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Cloudy with a Chance of Mainframes

[Connect with HPC users and learn new skills in the IBM Spectrum LSF User Community.]

Rapid rates of change sometimes result in unexpected bedfellows. Read more…

Argonne Supercomputer Accelerates Cancer Prediction Research

August 13, 2019

In the fight against cancer, early prediction, which drastically improves prognoses, is critical. Now, new research by a team from Northwestern University – and accelerated by supercomputing resources at Argonne Nation Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Scientists to Tap Exascale Computing to Unlock the Mystery of our Accelerating Universe

August 14, 2019

The universe and everything in it roared to life with the Big Bang approximately 13.8 billion years ago. It has continued expanding ever since. While we have a Read more…

By Rob Johnson

AI is the Next Exascale – Rick Stevens on What that Means and Why It’s Important

August 13, 2019

Twelve years ago the Department of Energy (DOE) was just beginning to explore what an exascale computing program might look like and what it might accomplish. Today, DOE is repeating that process for AI, once again starting with science community town halls to gather input and stimulate conversation. The town hall program... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader and John Russell

Cray Wins NNSA-Livermore ‘El Capitan’ Exascale Contract

August 13, 2019

Cray has won the bid to build the first exascale supercomputer for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Lawrence Livermore National Laborator Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AMD Launches Epyc Rome, First 7nm CPU

August 8, 2019

From a gala event at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco yesterday (Aug. 7), AMD launched its second-generation Epyc Rome x86 chips, based on its 7nm proce Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Lenovo Drives Single-Socket Servers with AMD Epyc Rome CPUs

August 7, 2019

No summer doldrums here. As part of the AMD Epyc Rome launch event in San Francisco today, Lenovo announced two new single-socket servers, the ThinkSystem SR635 Read more…

By Doug Black

Building Diversity and Broader Engagement in the HPC Community

August 7, 2019

Increasing diversity and inclusion in HPC is a community-building effort. Representation of both issues and individuals matters - the more people see HPC in a w Read more…

By AJ Lauer

Xilinx vs. Intel: FPGA Market Leaders Launch Server Accelerator Cards

August 6, 2019

The two FPGA market leaders, Intel and Xilinx, both announced new accelerator cards this week designed to handle specialized, compute-intensive workloads and un Read more…

By Doug Black

Upcoming NSF Cyberinfrastructure Projects to Support ‘Long-Tail’ Users, AI and Big Data

August 5, 2019

The National Science Foundation is well positioned to support national priorities, as new NSF-funded HPC systems to come online in the upcoming year promise to Read more…

By Ken Chiacchia, Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center/XSEDE

High Performance (Potato) Chips

May 5, 2006

In this article, we focus on how Procter & Gamble is using high performance computing to create some common, everyday supermarket products. Tom Lange, a 27-year veteran of the company, tells us how P&G models products, processes and production systems for the betterment of consumer package goods. Read more…

By Michael Feldman

Supercomputer-Powered AI Tackles a Key Fusion Energy Challenge

August 7, 2019

Fusion energy is the Holy Grail of the energy world: low-radioactivity, low-waste, zero-carbon, high-output nuclear power that can run on hydrogen or lithium. T Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Cray, AMD to Extend DOE’s Exascale Frontier

May 7, 2019

Cray and AMD are coming back to Oak Ridge National Laboratory to partner on the world’s largest and most expensive supercomputer. The Department of Energy’s Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Graphene Surprises Again, This Time for Quantum Computing

May 8, 2019

Graphene is fascinating stuff with promise for use in a seeming endless number of applications. This month researchers from the University of Vienna and Institu Read more…

By John Russell

AMD Verifies Its Largest 7nm Chip Design in Ten Hours

June 5, 2019

AMD announced last week that its engineers had successfully executed the first physical verification of its largest 7nm chip design – in just ten hours. The AMD Radeon Instinct Vega20 – which boasts 13.2 billion transistors – was tested using a TSMC-certified Calibre nmDRC software platform from Mentor. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

TSMC and Samsung Moving to 5nm; Whither Moore’s Law?

June 12, 2019

With reports that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TMSC) and Samsung are moving quickly to 5nm manufacturing, it’s a good time to again ponder whither goes the venerable Moore’s law. Shrinking feature size has of course been the primary hallmark of achieving Moore’s law... Read more…

By John Russell

Deep Learning Competitors Stalk Nvidia

May 14, 2019

There is no shortage of processing architectures emerging to accelerate deep learning workloads, with two more options emerging this week to challenge GPU leader Nvidia. First, Intel researchers claimed a new deep learning record for image classification on the ResNet-50 convolutional neural network. Separately, Israeli AI chip startup Hailo.ai... Read more…

By George Leopold

Nvidia Embraces Arm, Declares Intent to Accelerate All CPU Architectures

June 17, 2019

As the Top500 list was being announced at ISC in Frankfurt today with an upgraded petascale Arm supercomputer in the top third of the list, Nvidia announced its Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

ISC 2019 Virtual Booth Video Tour

CRAY
CRAY
DDN
DDN
DELL EMC
DELL EMC
GOOGLE
GOOGLE
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
PANASAS
PANASAS
VERNE GLOBAL
VERNE GLOBAL

Cray Wins NNSA-Livermore ‘El Capitan’ Exascale Contract

August 13, 2019

Cray has won the bid to build the first exascale supercomputer for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Lawrence Livermore National Laborator Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Top500 Purely Petaflops; US Maintains Performance Lead

June 17, 2019

With the kick-off of the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in Frankfurt this morning, the 53rd Top500 list made its debut, and this one's for petafl Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Hardware That Powered the Black Hole Image

June 24, 2019

Two months ago, the first-ever image of a black hole took the internet by storm. A team of scientists took years to produce and verify the striking image – an Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Cray – and the Cray Brand – to Be Positioned at Tip of HPE’s HPC Spear

May 22, 2019

More so than with most acquisitions of this kind, HPE’s purchase of Cray for $1.3 billion, announced last week, seems to have elements of that overused, often Read more…

By Doug Black and Tiffany Trader

AMD Launches Epyc Rome, First 7nm CPU

August 8, 2019

From a gala event at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco yesterday (Aug. 7), AMD launched its second-generation Epyc Rome x86 chips, based on its 7nm proce Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Chinese Company Sugon Placed on US ‘Entity List’ After Strong Showing at International Supercomputing Conference

June 26, 2019

After more than a decade of advancing its supercomputing prowess, operating the world’s most powerful supercomputer from June 2013 to June 2018, China is keep Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

In Wake of Nvidia-Mellanox: Xilinx to Acquire Solarflare

April 25, 2019

With echoes of Nvidia’s recent acquisition of Mellanox, FPGA maker Xilinx has announced a definitive agreement to acquire Solarflare Communications, provider Read more…

By Doug Black

Qualcomm Invests in RISC-V Startup SiFive

June 7, 2019

Investors are zeroing in on the open standard RISC-V instruction set architecture and the processor intellectual property being developed by a batch of high-flying chip startups. Last fall, Esperanto Technologies announced a $58 million funding round. Read more…

By George Leopold

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