Storage firm Quantum bought the Symform cloud consumer/small business file sync and share business in August 2014 – and is going to close it down on July 31. It has gone from acquisition to closure in 23 months.
According to a Quantum FAQ: "Quantum is discontinuing the Symform service due to its strategic business focus on enterprises."
Back in August 2014 it said: "We serve the pro-sumer, SMB, and enterprise customer markets, across commercial, education and government. Quantum is committed to maintaining the Symform service, so you can continue to protect your data just as you’ve always done. Over time, Quantum intends to enhance the service with new features and options, drawing on both the Symform team’s expertise and Quantum’s 30+ years of experience helping customers meet their most demanding data storage needs in physical, virtual and cloud environments."
At that time Quantum CEO Jon Gacek declared: "Quantum already provides cloud-based data protection through our Q-Cloud Protect service and other partner offerings, and we recently introduced a cloud solution for content production, packaging and distribution workflows based on our StorNext and Lattus solutions. The technology and talent we've acquired from Symform will enable us to augment these offerings and address a broader range of customer needs, as well as provide enhanced service options to the existing Symform user base.
"As just one example, we will be integrating Symform software and our platforms to create simple, very cost-effective cloud service options for long-term archive data and cold storage. This would complement our current StorNext-Lattus solutions which provide high performance nearline storage in a private cloud."
The Symform purchase price was not revealed back in 2014. But it then had 45,000 individual and small business customers in 170 countries, and had taken in $19.7m in funding. We would imagine Quantum paid between $20m and $50m.
Update: We would imagine wrong. Quantum's Brad Stone, VO for Corporate Communucations, told us: "We actually paid about $500 thousand."
Symform users will not lose access to their locally held data but will lose access to data held on other Symform servers. The FAQ says, "It is recommended that all users find an alternative solution to back up their data before July 31, 2016."
In more detail
Between July 1 and July 31, our service will become read-only mode and Symform clients will stop syncing files to the cloud. You will still have access to your files from symform.com. After July 31, the Symform service will be completely decommissioned and all user data will be deleted.
If you are on a monthly subscription, you will not be charged for service in the month of June. All subscription charges will be stopped in June 2016. If you are on an annual subscription, you will stop being charged for the service in June 2016, and will be issued a prorated refund for the remainder of your subscription.
Suggested alternative cloud-based services are Apple iCloud, Box, Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive.
Back in July 2015 Quantum CTO (and ex-Symform CTO and co-founder) Bassam Tabbara was recruiting for a new, open source initiative at Quantum which was called Castle. Stone said: "Castle continues, with Bassam still leading it. We’re not providing details about the initiative at this time but look forward to discussing it ... when we’re ready to talk more about it publicly. ®
This story was updated on 20th June with new information from Quantum.