Friday, July 18, 2008

Please note that you are not a Nirvanix user

I have received the message given below from Nirvanix in response to my email alerting the company to this blog. Basically, the message says the fact that our data is on Nirvanix servers does not make us Nirvanix users. A little unfair, I think, as we have being contributing to their income over the past year.

On the last blog entry I floated the idea of a Senate or Congressional Hearing. The mood I see from comments on the post is this is not going to happen. I have to bow to the greater knowledge of people in the US.

If this was a UK company we would, at the very least, be able to persuade a Member of Parliament, or group of them, to call company representatives to a meeting to explain their position. It is not a UK company so we will not be able to do that.

However, it should be straightforward to have a question asked in Parliament about the issues arising from this case, to be answered by a member of the Government, such as the Minister for Trade and Industry. I think there are issues about the nature of cross-border file storage and the lack of accountability shown by those holding the data which should concern any government.

Personally I don't have a problem with lost files as I only used Mediamax for hosting files for podcasts, rather than file sharing or backing up. But if there are UK readers of this blog who have lost access to files who wish to raise this in the UK Parliament, let me know and we can work on this.

For an indication of how little help we can expect from Nirvanix, here is the message:

---Email to Luzo Orbit from Nirvanix
Mr. Orbit,

Thank you for forwarding your new blog spot. Please note that you are not a Nirvanix user. You are a MediaMax/theLinkUp user. I believe this was covered with you extensively.

Please also refer to your vendor's website at http://tlublog.blogspot.com/ where it states:

...
Additional information (Updated: July 11, 2008 @ 5:45pm):

An update to answer several questions that we have received:

1. The only files that are available for download are the files that are currently in your The Linkup account.

2. Nirvanix cannot provide access to any additional data or assist with accessing your files. Please do not contact them.

POSTED BY TEAM LINKUP AT 12:41 AM

Best Regards,

Jonathan
---email ends

10 comments:

Tom Bassett said...

That's just plain dumb word parsing to escape responsibility for their failures.

It's like if you store your stuff with a storage company, let's say "Mediamax", that rents a warehouse from another company, let's call them "Nirvanix".

The warehouse burns down due to faulty management by Nirvanix, who then goes on to say "Sorry, not our fault you lost all your worldly possessions, you're not our customer."

Lame, lame, LAME! Nirvanix, no one is buying your line, sorry.

IceAge said...

Again I would bring up terms and conditions. I personally think this is the area that needs to be focused in.

When we buy physical storage, like in a warehouse as Tom mention. We also take insurance out in the event of a fire and our goods are destroyed.

When we sign up to any of these online storage companies we sign away all our rights as part of the agreement to use them.

If the legal, government business, media outlets of the world could grasp that fact and make that change then we are back in the world of user rights again. At the moment we have none, because we signed them away on sign up. Thats whats needed to be changed

PS, I think it's best when a new post is written, that the admin comment on the last of the old one. I had no idea this one had moved on and missed out on the last two.

Luzo Orbit said...

Hi Iceage, I'll try to remember to leave a comment as you suggest. I've also moved the links to the blog archive to the top of the page so the list of blogs (and so which is the newest) will hopefully stand out more clearly.

It's interesting that if you go to the Nirvanix site they have latest news about them signing up with new service. For example you can read this there:

---
Atempo and Nirvanix Partner to Deliver Industry-First Integration of File Archiving and Cloud Storage

Atempo Digital Archive and Nirvanix Storage Delivery Network Integrate to Offer Long-Term Data Retention Direct to “Archival Disk Drive in the Clouds”

Palo Alto and San Diego, Calif., June 30, 2008 - Atempo, Inc., a leading provider of cross-platform data protection and archiving solutions, and Nirvanix, the premier global “Cloud Storage” platform provider optimized for media and large files, today announced the full integration of Atempo Digital Archive (ADA) with the Nirvanix Storage Delivery Network (SDN). In partnering with Nirvanix, Atempo now offers the world’s first file archiving software to seamlessly identify, link and move archive files from the enterprise out into cloud storage. Mid-size and large organizations that select ADA’s cloud storage option retain the software’s rich and unique features, while benefiting from the security, flexibility and economic advantages offered by Nirvanix’s powerful SDN.
---

So on the one hand Nirvanix wants to boast that it is providing the storage service - with 'security' and 'flexibility' you note - but on the other hand when it reportedly deletes millions of files in error and users ask for help in accessing those that remain it says those with data on its servers are not using its service.

In this case, Atempo is offering 'archiving' solutions, but in the event of Atempo running into difficulties it seems that Narvanix would not allow those who archived data on its servers to have access to it - at least that's what they have done to Mediamax customers.

It seems to me that anyone using the services partnering with Nirvanix better ask for explanation as to what rights they have if Nirvanix inadvertantly deletes files or the intermediary company goes under.

Luzo.

Anonymous said...

Does this apply here?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piercing_the_corporate_veil

No matter what they say, Mediamax and Nirvanix have a closely intertwined history via streamload.

If this goes to a class action lawsuit and it does apply, Nirvanix is hosed.

Jabash said...

Some comments have suggested we 'get over it' and stop worrying about the files.

Well, I used MM for secondary backup while traveling for one year and my portable drive failed in early 2008 with three months to the end of the trip. I figured I could download the files when I get home rather than download all the files and burn cds (no dvd burner on the road). So just like that my photos of a lifetime are gone. My book deal is gone as well as all many possible photo publications. I have spent over $2500 trying to recover files from the portable drive with only limited success. Then to be treated so badly by tlu and Nirvanix just burns me up. Forget about legal definitions of customer and contracts how about just common decency.

As far as I know, my files were not deleted and if they couldn't be transfered to tlu they must still be where they were with MM. I will now loose these files forever if nothing happens.

Well, thanks for listening.

IceAge said...

jabash, I was nearly in a similar situation. It's truly not good what TLU have done.

I made the suggestion a few posts ago that we should be looking at bringing the terms of contact to all of these storage companies into world view and have this no responsibility issue taken out.

With RAID, cluster and cloud servers, back up and insurance there is no need for these people to claim they cannot except responsibility for our files.

Jabash if you have a blog of your travels I would love to read it.

Luzo Orbit said...

Jabash, have your tried contacting Nirvanix? You can email via their site (see the links).

When I have a bit of time (?) I'll trawl these blogs and make a compilation of stories such as yours as a pdf document which could be used by journalists and others. If anyone else is able to take this on, please let me know.

Luzo Orbit said...

NEW POST ALERT:

Check the Blog Archive list for new posts.

EPG said...

I just saw this article:
http://www.thestandard.com/news/2008/07/31/mediamax-thelinkup-death-spiral-dogs-nirvanix

Judging from the quoted Steve Iverson at the end, it seems that the real reason we won't be seeing our files is simply that: it is not economically viable.

That's the reason, folks. It is not a technical issue, it is not a fingerpointing issue, it is not a storage issue.

What is happening is, Steve Iverson is off to some other employer. John Hood no longer works at TLU, and Patrick Harr is CEO of "different" company Nirvanix which is modestly (it appears) successful (or at least has 12 million--gasp! That much for a company so mired in muck!!--in venture capital to ride on).

Bottom line is: Streamload/Mediamax/TLU has no money, so who would pay engineers to fix their software?

We the disgruntled users, unfortunately, cannot force them, as given they declared banktrupcy, I don't see how we could force them to get the funds to hire a compentent engineering team. They wriggled themselves out of the whole fiasco!

Only hope is to get NIRVANIX (that has the money) to cough up our files.

AND make sure the story is out there. Patrick Harr ignored Streamload customers (paying and non) because they brought nothing in revenue and cost, thus the split in the firstplace and the move from Streamload to Mediamax. He put profits ahead of his customers, and the gamble paid off, at least for the Nirvanix side (i.e. Harr's side!).

Up to the voices on the internet to make sure Harr doesn't get away with it.

Neither Iverson nor John Hood.

Make sure no one ever hires them again. Get our stories out there!

Anonymous said...

It looks like there's some evidence that most/all of us are actually contracted to Nirvanix, Inc. (which is just Streamload, Inc. renamed) - can anyone confirm if this is true? If so, can we not just ask for our files back? Does anyone know how to confirm it with the authorities? Maybe all is not lost after all...