EMC stops offering its Atmos onLine storage-as-a-service cloud

In May 2008 EMC launched a Storage-as-a-Service cloud computing offering dubbed Atmos onLine.

The platform, crafted to compete against Amazon S3, is powered by the Atmos technology (codenamed Maui): a storage system that scales up to multi-petabyte and that supports a global namespace, versioning, compression, deduplication, geographic distribution of information, objects replication, multi-tenancy and even API access.
Currently, the Atmos computing units feature Intel Xeon 5500 CPUs and up to 2TB disk drives, reaching 720TB of storage space per cabinet.

While Atmos is a technology for building a private storage cloud, Atmos onLine is its counter-part for public clouds, where EMC itself is the hosting provider.

EMC used to sell Atmos onLine resources for:

  • Storage capacity: $0.15 – $0.25 per gigabyte per month, based on storage class
  • Bandwidth into Atmos Online Storage Service: $0.10 – $0.20 per gigabyte per month, based on storage class
  • Bandwidth out of Atmos Online Storage Service: $0.20 – $0.25 per gigabyte per month, based on storage class

But starting July 1st, the company change its mind and stopped offering the service to new customers.

Chad Sakac, Vice President of VMware Technology Alliance at EMC, explains the choice on his personal blog:

Well – in basic terms, we made a mistake, and are correcting it.  (BTW – that’s **MY** view – another valid view is that it was a necessary step to get the ball rolling).

there was always a frustrating part of a conversation with any service provider potential Atmos customer where they would ask “are you competing with us?” 

The answer was simple “NO” – Atmos Online was always intended to be a proof-point of the technology, but part of being a proof-point of a cloud object storage technology was you needed to really be up and running (since big parts of the technology are things like the end-user portal, multi-tenancy and usage/chargeback models ).  But, this was a weird conversation, and you needed to have someone adept at talking to it.

Lastly – sometimes EMC’s own field would sometimes want to sell it as a service, which was a conflict of interest with the service provider, and seemed to rebut the point of whether we wanted to be a service provider.  

In retrospect, it was a mistake to stand up Atmos Online that EMC operated, and we should have always invested all our efforts in supporting public proof-points that were Atmos-powered…