After Nirvanix, who’s the next cloud provider to shutter?

Bloggers question how “future-proof” Google’s cloud is

News that cloud storage provider Nirvanix will be shutting down, and that customers have just a couple of weeks to get their data out, has sent ripples throughout the cloud computing industry.

[RELATED: Gartner's advice to Nirvanix customers: Panic!  ]

Some say the news came as no surprise. Others say the move will impact the channel market and the trust that users have in resellers of cloud services. And others are wondering which company could be next. 

David Linthicum, a blogger at InfoWorld and a consultant at Cloud Technology Partners, raised that exact question in a blog post today.

In a dueling blog post, another analyst/blogger, Rene Buest, came up with an interesting answer: Google. Buest points to an interview Google cloud executive Greg DeMichillie gave to GigaOM in which he talked about the long-term future for Google's cloud.

For some background: Google's been known to have fits and starts with a number of products. It recently cancelled its popular Google Reader platform, for example. There have been countless others - Wave, Buzz and Google Desktop, for example.

[GOOGLE GRAVEYARD: 15 Project Google has killed ]

GigaOM asked the Google exec about the long-term future of its cloud (the Google cloud logo is pictured). 

In fact, Google director of cloud product managmeent Greg DeMichillie doesn't hint at all about Google's cloud services are going away. Here's what he told GigaOM: 

"Google's going to continue to invest in infrastructure because we have to. Our business continues to grow:  We keep adding new services like Android and Chrome. And as we do that we continue to have to innovate in core compute and storage technologies. So there's no scenario in which Google suddenly decides 'Gee, I don't think we need to think about storage any more or compute anymore.' It's core to what we do in all our businesses, and what we do (with the cloud platform) is take those technologies and make them available to external customers. Once people understand that, developers tend to be pretty excited about the possibility of accessing the same infrastructure Google uses."

Listen to the full interview here (the interview starts around minute 12:20). 

But still, the Google Reader-effect is fresh in people's minds. Here's GigaOM's Derrick Harris recapping his interview with DeMichillie:

"Google's periodic housecleaning sessions over the past couple years - including of popular services like Google Reader - understandably raise some doubts about how committed Google is to projects that don't meet revenue goals. DeMichillie wouldn't guarantee services like Compute Engine will be around for the long haul, but he did try to reassure developers by explaining that Google's cloud services are really just externalized versions of what it uses internally."

Buest seems spooked by this prospect as well. "Due to this statement one (would) have to advise against the use of the Google Compute Engine and instead set on a cloud computing provider who has its actually core business in infrastructure-as-a-service and not be indulgent to sell its overcapacities and instead operate a serious cloud computing business."

Technology is a fast-changing industry, and companies like Google are constantly evolving their products and services. Will Google's cloud go away? Probably not. Will it look the same today as it does in a year, two, three or five years? Probably not either though.

NOTE: This story was updated to include DeMichellie's direct quote. 

Senior Writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing for Network World and NetworkWorld.com. He can be reached at BButler@nww.com and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.

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