Home > amazon, datacenter > Amazon S3 SLA is here! (Nirvanix dies?)

Amazon S3 SLA is here! (Nirvanix dies?)

October 8, 2007

Amazon has finally released and put into effect their SLA for S3. I know a lot of my readers will be thrilled about this. 🙂

I’ve gotten a few questions about Nirvanix in the past month or so, especially about the fact that they offer an SLA (and that S3 didn’t). I think this probably puts the final nail in Nirvanix’ coffin because:

  • Why would you trust Nirvanix, a no-name company, with your precious data?
  • Worse, they’re affiliated with MediaMax/Streamload in some way, who have a reputation of poor service. (I’ve even seen reports of data loss at Streamload, though I haven’t bothered to check).
  • Just how much is an SLA worth when there’s nothing behind it to back it up?
  • They’re more expensive than Amazon. Um, duh.

SLAs don’t mean a lot to us, anyway, as I’ve said before because:

  • Everything fails sometimes.
  • The SLA payment is rarely comparable to the pain and suffering your customers had to deal with.

But I know it’s very important to lots of people, so I expect there’s cheering and dancing in the streets. 🙂

UPDATE: I get SLAs now. Sorry for being dumb.

Categories: amazon, datacenter
  1. Jimmy
    October 8, 2007 at 11:35 pm

    Agree with you totally about Streamload. Their upload software does not work, and they do not reply my query. I would just conclude service is far more important than free gigabytes.

  2. John
    October 9, 2007 at 9:17 am

    It’s about time Amazon offered an SLA, but from what I’ve seen, there are other differences in the Nirvanix services. Not sure this new Amazon deal will put anyone out of business.

  3. Nick
    October 9, 2007 at 9:49 am

    Several outages over the years, poor customer service,major lag time. Now we have an SLA, which is an obvious move against Nirvanix who offers 24/7 customer support and a SLA. Amazon=😦

  4. Brian Anderson
    October 9, 2007 at 10:00 am

    Good news to hear that Amazon finally put in SLA… That is what is great about this country.. Is that competition finally made Amazon come with SLA or they would never have done it. To say that this will kill Nirvanix is just silly…. There have got to be enough people that are frustrated with Amazon over the years to give them enough revenue to stay alive… I guess saying that Nirvanix is dead is like saying that no new companies can enter the market since the biggest have similar service offerings… Just tell that to GOOGLE since Microsoft and Yahoo and AOL had search covered……

  5. Brian Anderson
    October 9, 2007 at 10:18 am

    Hey Don,

    Did you happen to lose any of your data with EC2 the other day when they went down?

    I would like you to add this to your BLOG or did you not see the story….. here is the link to share with your visitors, but I would think that an update in your story might be better.


  6. October 9, 2007 at 10:22 am


    Nope, we didn’t lose any EC2 data. In fact, this is the first I’ve heard about it having an outage, so I apologize for being in the dark.

    Personally, I would never trust any data on EC2. It’s for processing, not data storage, so all of our writes from EC2 go directly to S3.

    Let’s not forget it’s in beta, too.

    But I often bring up Amazon’s S3 outages, of which they’ve had a few. As we experience EC2 outages, I’m sure I’ll talk about them as well. We just weren’t affected by this last one.

  7. Alex
    October 9, 2007 at 5:49 pm

    Both Amazon S3 and Nirvanix NWS have their advantages and disadvantages.

    S3 is cheaper, probably more reliable, but has a weaker set of API calls. NWS is more expensive, unknown for reliability, but has additional storage nodes and a better API command set.

    The Nirvanix API does look more featured than Amazon S3, the ability to have seperate accounts for different users. One of my main worries about using S3 as a primary storage service is the fact that if someone managed to get my key in some way then gigabytes or terabytes of data could be wiped quickly. Also I can’t sell a product directly to a client which accesses my own S3 space as they’d have the details.

    I love the ideas of Amazon S3/EC2, however both need improvements and Amazon is very lazy at adding any new features to it. An SLA won’t make much difference.

  8. October 10, 2007 at 10:38 pm


    You’re right that an SLA for a commodity service can’t adequately recompense users for outages. However, in our deliberations to offer an SLA at 3tera, the driving factor has been to demonstrate our willingness to align our financial interests with our users. Simply put, if we don’t perform we don’t profit.

    Of course, no SLA can alleviate the need for good system architecture and contingency planning. The fact you didn’t hear about the EC2 outage indicates your team’s using it for the right functions.

  9. Joseph
    October 12, 2007 at 7:59 am


    Would switching to Nirvanix make moving photos around much faster? Isn’t it slow because S3 doesn’t have the ability to copy/move? I hate that it takes 30 seconds per photo to move/copy photos from one album to another. (My guess is the 30 seconds is time to download from S3 and time to re-upload to S3 per photo, which you get charged for.)

    As for Nirvanix being more expensive: isn’t it about the same price since S3 charges for every little call and Nirvanix doesn’t? Plus S3 charges for all those copies/moves.

    I don’t mean to sound like an anti-S3 zealot, but you seem pretty quick to dismiss this new company. I love SmugMug, and I am never leaving SmugMug, but I sure would love faster album moving.


  10. October 12, 2007 at 11:05 am


    I would never trust my customer’s precious data on a company that has a history of outages and data loss, not to mention one that has no financial stability whatsoever. You nailed it when you said ‘new company’ – startups with a little cash in the bank are not my idea of a great place to store priceless family photos – our early success notwithstanding.

    At least when we started, I was personally in control of every byte. Letting Amazon have them was a tough decision because even a multi-billion dollar company might not treat those bytes with the same respect I do. Luckily, it turns out they do an even better job that I did, and they have the reputation, financial ability, and will to keep them safe.

    Moving photos from one gallery to another is a very fast process, because there’s no real changes involved except which gallery “owns” the photo.

    Copying, though, involves creating a whole new version of the photo, complete with image rendering and storing. Of the 30 seconds (I think it’s usually less than 30, but I could be wrong), saving to Amazon constitutes only a second or two, typically. Rendering all the different sizes properly is what really takes the time. (We re-render because we’re always improving our rendering algorithms and settings, so we want to make sure your new copy looks its best).

  11. October 15, 2007 at 1:58 pm


    I congratulate Amazon, as I have done publicly, including on a panel last week with Jeff Barr at the Graphing Social Patterns conference, for their success with S3 and highlighting the value of storage as a service model.

    I do believe, however, like with any first gen service in the market that there is opportunity for others to deliver a better service that differentiates in many areas and offers choices that best fits the application needs and requirements. It is the reason why you created and started SmugMug when there were clearly many other services available to store and access photos.

    We have created a storage delivery service from the ground up that utilizes the latest in clustered file system technology with our own patent-pending Internet Media File System to deliver the best performance and scalability for media-rich applications and services. In addition, we have launched new transcoding, image manipulation and streaming services that dramatically reduce time to market and make it much easier to build and offer new rich media applications and services. Finally, we are building our storage delivery network with nodes in Europe, Asia and the United States that will deliver the optimal user experience for users of services like SmugMug – not just from two locations in the US as S3 does.

    As far as financial strength and credibility, I’d like to address a few points. One, we are backed by leading venture capital firms with rich history in CDNs and storage. The firms have deep pockets for follow on investment in Nirvanix. They are certainly more than happy to talk with anyone that may have a question along those lines. And, just as important, there are several additional firms and strategic investors, including much larger companies than Amazon, that have expressed more than just interest to invest in Nirvanix. Stay tuned.

    Finally, I have yet to address the misinformation reported on TechCrunch as we were still in stealth mode but will do so now. I never talked to Michael nor did he talk with me to confirm the pieces in his article. There is no “affiliation” with us and MediaMax. They do not (and did not) use the Nirvanix service which is completely redundant and highly available. In fact, we have much greater availability than Amazon as we use RAID 6 protection and complete backup of every system. Nirvanix has not been down nor have we ever lost any data. We are designed for the highest levels of availability. Just as important to design, one needs to trust the management behind it. I just hired on my team Michael Landesman as head of my data center operations and network. Michael was previously responsible for building out and managing Exodus operations in Southern California before moving on to run operations at Savvis and Rackspace. Michael has overseen and managed the most demanding accounts and environments in the world and knows a thing or two about SLAs. In fact, Michael managed the multi-million dollar Microsoft accounts and their 67 page SLA.

    Rather than attempt to tear down our company for innovating in what is a very large market, I would suggest focusing on the value of the storage-as-a-service model and its tremendous benefits over build-it-yourself, Internet-scale storage infrastructures. I also think it is important to encourage competition in the market as things like the limited SLA just introduced by S3 would not occur without companies like Nirvanix in the storage-as-a-service space. Think about how dearth the photo space would be without innovative companies like SmugMug?


    Patrick Harr

  12. November 8, 2007 at 9:07 am

    I was interested in comparing the terms of the S3 SLA to that offered by Nirvanix. But it turns of that Nirvanix doesn’t appear to offer a SLA after all.

    Nirvanix’s website states:

    Service Level Agreement:
    * Standard: 99.9% uptime guarantee, allows for 45 min/mo of unplanned downtime, backed by service credits**.

    ** Full details of the Nirvanix Service Level Agreement (SLA) can be found in the terms and conditions of our service.

    But I went to the sign-up page for a business account here: https://nmp.nirvanix.com/signup.aspx
    I read all of the text in the terms & conditions field and there is no mention whatsoever of any uptime guarantee or service credits.

    Patrick – care to comment on this? Am I missing something?

  13. Brian Jinwright
    November 19, 2007 at 9:34 am

    We were sold on using an EC2/S3 combination for our video sharing startup, but took a second look at Nirvanix recently because of their transcoding services. The ability to convert videos and other media at Nirvanix saves us a definite $72/month on the first ec2 instance and who knows what on the others. While I’m not saying we are sold on Nirvanix but I would say that this new S3 SLA kills them in anyway.

    Also, I had problems with my S3 account and sent an email to Amazon and never heard back. Nirvanix answered my email within 1 hour and also offered to post code to their forums if it was something that could benefit community as a whole.

    Like I said we are still testing their conversion services and eagerly waiting their thumbnail previews option. But by no means are they dead.

  14. December 19, 2007 at 5:36 pm


    It’s been a little while since I checked back here so sorry I didn’t respond earlier. Our SLA guarantee and language can be found at this link. http://www.nirvanix.com/sla.aspx

    Also, we just announced today a strategic investment by Intel Capital. You can see the link at http://www.nirvanix.com/bw121907.aspx.

    As I said in my previous post, Nirvanix is focused on rapid innovation and differentiation as the premier storage delivery network provider. Unlike Amazon, we focus exclusively on the storage layer and are delivering the Akamai of storage with our global storage nodes. In addition, we focus on media optimization of that storage delivery network by providing support for large file types, up to 256GB, as well as advanced server side media processing services, such as transcoding, image manipulation, image extraction, search, tagging, etc. In short, we provide the quickest way to build your media rich applications and take advantage of our global storage delivery network for optimal application performance and scalability as well as experience for your users.

    Best to everyone.

    Patrick Harr
    Nirvanix, Inc.

  15. Tom Bassett
    July 14, 2008 at 11:37 am

    The Nirvanix house of cards has begun to crumble down:


    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).

    They put their own spin out out of business, who would trust them with their own data!

  1. October 8, 2007 at 8:31 pm
  2. October 10, 2007 at 9:37 am
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