A few days ago, Verizon announced they are shutting down their public cloud services. Customers have a month to migrate whatever servers and systems they run off of Verizon’s cloud and onto a new provider. If a month sounds like a long time to you, you’re probably not the person responsible for your company’s IT.
Companies going out of business or shutting down a particular product is nothing new. In earlier years in the IT world, if a product was to be discontinued, you could keep what you had already purchased and keep using it as long as it kept functioning (which often times, I found through my clients, was many years). Often, if a product was popular enough, third party support offerings would quickly pop up to satisfy existing customers.
But with more and more moving to the cloud, this changes. These days, everything from application software to email to backups to desktops and servers are offered as cloud services, but they are also a company’s lifeline. While a month’s notice from Verizon may sound nice, it’s nowhere near enough time for a company who’s invested heavily in it and now needs to rethink everything. Imagine being told you have a month to move. If you’re single and are moving a studio apartment or a one room office, it’s bad enough. Can you imagine moving a company of 25 people on a month’s notice? When we moved to our current office in 2010, it took us 5 months to find the space and another 4 to build it, all along while we carefully planned everything to ensure minimal disruption to our business.
On February 1, Barracuda Networks gave their users 90-days notice that their Copy and CudaDrive services will be shut down. In December 2015, Intel announced the upcoming shutdown of its MX Logic email filtering and archiving service (it was considerate in giving customers 13 months to migrate off).
We all know Verizon as a phone, internet, cell phone, and now TV provider. Those services probably generate 98%, if not more, of its revenue. What was it doing trying to sell cloud services? I know that AT&T offers a similar cloud service – let’s see if they decide to follow Verizon’s lead.
While it’s hard to predict if or when a company will discontinue a product or service, it’s important when buying any business critical service to ensure that what you are buying is a key offering from the company you’re buying it from. For example, Amazon Web Services is a significant part of Amazon’s business, so the likelihood of them shutting it down is slim to none. Google, on the other hand, makes 96% of their revenue from search ads, so who’s to say they may not decide to kill off some of their cloud products in the future if it’s not worth their time. Barracuda is famous for selling spam filters, email archivers, and other network appliances (read: hardware) to companies, not providing cloud file sharing services.
Our company uses several cloud based systems (including some of our own), none of which I’d want to migrate on a month’s notice. Even personally, I have a bunch of cloud things that I’ve grown so accustomed to.
I guess this is a warning for all of us.
5 Tips On What To Do If One Of Your Cloud Vendors Gives You “Notice”:
- Don’t panic
- Call them, speak to someone, and ask the real story
- Get your team in a huddle, list out your needs (not what you have now), and start looking for other options
- Start exporting data, just to be safe
- As you’re looking at alternatives, remember to buy only a “core product,” not a side offering, from a company – look for industry leaders who are cash flow positive and have a good footprint