Monday, July 28, 2008

Nirvanix breaks its silence - but not to this blog

There is some good news. Nirvanix has admitted that the files that did not make it into The Linkup file management system are still on its servers and can be accessed through the Mediamax file manager. The bad news is that it refuses to do so. More on that in a moment. First some background on why Nirvanix has broken its silence regarding Mediamax.

Before setting up this blog, I had an exchange of emails with Nirvanix, including the following question sent on 11 July 2008:

---question from Luzo Orbit to Nirvanix
According to an investor, Charlie Jackson: "Around the time this spin-out was happening, Nirvanix engineers screwed up royally and accidentally deleted half the files. Most were recovered over time, but it took months, and there was never 100% recovery (I never got some of files back)." See:

As the problem with missing data appears to have been caused by Nirvanix, I am surprised that you are unprepared to do more. After all had Nivanix engineers not 'screwed up royally and accidentally deleted half the files' it is unlikely that Mediamax/The Linkup would have gone under.

Once again, I ask that you do nothing to delete this data without the permission of its owners.
---end of email

After setting up the blog and inviting Nirvanix to comment, I received an email on 18 July pointing out that we are not Nirvanix users, which I duly posted to the site at:

This did not respond to the specific question raised about the allegation that it was Nirvanix engineers that deleted the data, so I emailed again on 22 July:

---Luzo email of 22 July to Nirvanix
I note that Nirvanix does not challenge the claim made by Charlie Jackson that it was Nirvanix engineers that accidently deleted files entrusted to you by Mediamax.

If you do have a statement giving further details, I would appreciate it.
---email ends

I have had no answer to that email.

I see from an anonymous comment posted to the last entry here, however, that Nirvanix has posted on its blog today (28 July) about Mediamax at:

This states: "We would like to take time to answer questions that have resulted from this closure [of Mediamax], as well as dispel some inaccurate and blatantly false information that is being reported on certain blogs."

Well, they can't mean this blog as they were invited to comment, and comments that have been supplied have been posted. They did not contradict the claim that it was Nirvanix engineers that deleted the data although it was put to them specifically and repeatedly.

Later the Nirvanix blog refers to data being deleted as follows:

---extract from Nivanix blog
I have read that Nirvanix is to blame for the difficulties at MediaMax/The Linkup.

This is simply not true and this false speculation has been spread by a handful of angry blog posts and perpetuated by a popular technology blog that did not verify its story by contacting Nirvanix.
---extract ends

If the allegation was not true, why didn't Nirvanix say so when asked on 11 July or since? Or does it prefer to taint the reputation of all blogs by suggesting they are 'angry' and do not verify information?

Those familiar with this debacle are well aware that lousy communication has been a major part of the problem. It is a shame that Nirvanix is following the same route of vilifying customers with genuine concerns on its blog rather than engaging with them. So we know what Nirvanix is posting I've found how to add an RSS feed reader to the side panel here.

Nirvanix admits that it could recover Mediamax files that did not make it into The Linkup file management. The last word from Mediamax (specifically its Director of Communications, John Hood) was it is up to Nirvanix whether it gives access to Mediamax files or not.

If Mediamax has told us that Nirvanix can give access to the files, I think we have a right to know why Nirvanix will not do so. Or perhaps Nirvanix can persuade John Hood to return to explain why he was wrong to say they could.

If there are difficulties in gaining access to the Mediamax database, surely those could be resolved.

I would suggest anyone who things it doesn't matter and we should all shut up, should read some of the posts on this and the preceding users blogs of the heartbreak and financial loss caused by lack of access to this data.

This is a problem with a solution. Come on, Nirvanix. Please try a little harder.


Anonymous said...

Their action reminds me of how Mediamax/TLU would handle it. No one can comment! And wasn't it an investor of TLU, and not of users of blogsphere who said, who said that it was an engineer in Nirvanix who accidentally deleted the files?

Anonymous said...

It seems pretty cut and dry to me after reading the Nirvanix post. I think people are looking for someone to blame and now that Mediamax is gone Nirvanix is the next best bet. From their post: "MediaMax has always had full and complete management control over its application, database, billing and software used to provide service to their users. As a result, Nirvanix cannot legally or technically provide access to MediaMax data on the old Streamload/MediaMax system, despite inaccurate claims to the contrary." It sounds like Mediamax is the one who holds the key to our data and Nirvanix doesn't have a way to access it legally.

I checked the link up page and this is what they say "Nirvanix cannot provide access to any additional data or assist with accessing your files. Please do not contact them."

So who can we contact at Mediamax to try to get our data?

Tom Bassett said...

It sounds like Mediamax is the one who holds the key to our data and Nirvanix doesn't have a way to access it legally.

That would be understandable if they really were two separate companies - but in fact, they are intimately related - sharing employees, servers, computer programs, management, and sprung from the same company.

It's very convenient to say "We're a different company" when it wasn't long ago they were one and the same, and the behind the scenes launching of Nirvanix caused this mess in the first place.

But Nirvanix is continuing to deny responsibility despite what Hood & Jackson say. Therefore I know of no further steps that can be taken - it is one party's word against another and even though we have direct quotes from several of the parties involved, it doesn't matter. I don't know what more can be done.

Luzo Orbit said...

In response to 'anonymous' above, although there is a story to be told about why Streamload split and the Mediamax part has folded, I am sure the main concern of readers of this blog is what the remaining part of Streamload - ie Nirvanix - will do with their data.

It is clear now that it is feasible for users to gain access to the files that did not transfer to The Linkup if access to the old Mediamax database is provided.

Mediamax told us it is up to Nirvanix whether we are given access, Nirvanix tells us they can't because of Mediamax. Both statements cannot be true.

However, more important than who is telling the truth, is what is to be done.

Nirvanix holds data that it does not own. The owners want access to it. It is technically feasible to provide that access.

I believe that if Nirvanix put in just a bit of effort it could gain the necessary permission to restart the Mediamax database, assuming it is right to say it hasn't already been given that permission.

It seems at present that Nirvanix is more interested in trying to discredit those raising genuine concerns than resolving the problem. That is a failure of management, vision and common decency in my view.

IceAge said...

It's sad to have come all this way only to see that our files are there. Dangled by Nirvanix but untouchable to us. It's worse to see them admit it. Which seriously reminds my of TLU attitudes. Which again seems to day they are one in the same.

Changing the legal policy that allows these companies to do this is the only way forward in my view.

Anonymous said...

My Issue here is the fact that no one from MediaMax/Streamload/TLU have come forward and set the record straight, like the ceo etc. I commend Nirvanix for stepping up to the plate and stating the facts. I want to hear the real deal from the Mediamax/TLU folks.

Luzo Orbit said...

To the anonymous comment above, the Communications Director for Mediamax/The Linkup has posted here repeatedly (John Hood).

His explanation is that Nirvanix required Mediamax to deliberately lie about where files were stored (ie deny they were on Nirvanix servers when in fact they were). In confirming the files are there he said it was up to Nirvanix whether they provide access to Mediamax or not.

Regarding the deletion of files, after a long time where users were not receiving information, it was admitted that million of files were deleted due to operator error and a recovery process was in place, which overran and failed to recover many - perhaps most - files (there are graphs on the Mediamax users blog showing how unsuccessful this process was).

John Hood didn't say where the operator error took place. It was an investor who alleged it was a Nirvanix employee.

It would be good to hear more from Mediamax, particularly as Nirvanix are outright contradicting the information previously provided by Mediamax.

Luzo Orbit said...

New emails from Nirvanix. See the next blog entry.

Anonymous said...

Nirvanix lost over 8,000 of their customer files... They had to apologize to their customers in an e-mail. Also their East Coast node is mostly offline.