It is safe to say that there will be additional cloud service and product provider shakeout, it’s not if rather when, who and what happens.
As many of the comments/discussions have touched on, what happens to your data when the services shutdown or when they fail/lose access as has also been a problem or growing pain depending on your perspective.
One solution is to stay clear of clouds or MSPs or hosted or out sourced or data hotels or whatever you prefer to call them.
Another solution is to embrace balancing risk with reward, perhaps taking adequate steps including keeping copies of your data elsewhere, encrypting and so forth or just leverage the all you can consume data buffet model not worried about availability/accessibility until you lose access.
How much time do you spend thinking about a cloud services business model, financial conditions, terms of service (do you actually read them?), employee including CEOs turnover as an indicator of a services health or viability, or do you decide based on low or no cost?
Ok, all of the above are considerations, however they do not address the challenge of what happens and how do you move your data?
A few months ago I moved from one cloud backup provider to another in order to leverage more functionality/capabilities from the new service and at a higher fee (better value). I did the migration by not moving data per say, rather, backing up for a short period of time to both to have a dual copy. Then stopped backing up to the old provider and let that data expire as I had good retentions at the new provider. Now for backups that’s one approach, however for archive or general file or data storage in the cloud, that would require some movement/migration or sync to occur.
In classic IT form or tradition, of course you can add another layer or stack such as using services or providers or access tools that provide the transparency (hmmm, cloud virtualization or federation?) to enable a tool to do the move/migrate for you. The tools exist today, however not all service providers support them or the tools may not support different services. Some access tools are built into software ranging from backup/archive to dedicated gateways/access appliances/cpop that learn the various service APIs and some even adding SNIA CDMI. In case you have not heard, SNIA CDMI is the Cloud Data Management Initiative API that has a value proposition of providing an API abstraction layer to include enabling data movement between the cloud products or services assuming that the service and tools you are using support the API. Of course, there exists a dilemma which is that some cloud gateway/cpop (cloud point of presences) vendors have shut down or suspended operations. The other caveat is that additional layers of management tools are going to be added whose cost needs to be included in cloud conversations. For those environments looking at clouds for value, trust and functionality will trump low cost, however for others, that low cost or for fee service may result in extra headaches.
What this all means is that clouds or whatever you choose to call them are in their infancy (compared to what you may have seen, experienced or worked with in the past) and as a result, tools, infrastructures, best practices, policies, procedures need to evolve at least for those who are looking to deploy flexible, scalable, resilient data infrastructure based applications.
When it comes to cloud, don’t be scared, however, look before you leap, do your homework, use some common sense and leverage your experience.