Drobo

End of Life for Transporters?

#1

Hello: I’m new to the forums. I came across a page that said that the transporter product status has ben changed to “End of Life”. Nixsan said they will continue supporting the syncing of the transporter. But for how long??? I’m beginning to think I need to start thinking about another cloud replacement? Is the “End of Life” the first indication of something bad is going to happen? I also have notice that on other postings, iOS 10 Transporter app has broken photo syncing, and Mac OS 11 Sierra Beta is broken (but the OS is still on Beta, so that really doesn’t count).

http://helper.nexsansupport.com/docs/note/eol_20160907.pdf

#2

hi at first glance it looks like sales have stopped for that model but that central services (assuming that means the connectivity) and support is for another year but maybe a transporter mod can help confirm for you.

#3

READ ALL ABOUT IT
Nexsan ends support for Transporter Consumer products - SEE: http://helper.nexsansupport.com/docs/note/eol_20160907.pdf

#4

I purchased a Transporter 15 months ago to create my own cloud for my digital photography. I configured this with a two TB wester digital drive. Over the last three months I I have been receiving a “overheating” msg followed by the device going offline. It took me three or for weeks just to get them to respond. When they finally responded by email they told the warranty was over, Duh, I knew that. I would have paid for advice. Basically they told me to got get another devise. They were rude and never intended to help. I would NEVER recommend their product to any business or individual.

#5

I recently purchased a Sinology box. So far, it works very similar to a transporter, but it does have a learning curve. It took a little time to read everything and play with the darn thing, but it now syncs with all my computers just like Transporter.

#6

I have followed up with Imation about whether the Transporter devices will continue to work once the end-of-life date has come. In a nutshell: don’t rely on it.

I think this is a horrible, misguided way for the company to treat its installed customer base, so I’ve proposed that Imation/Nexsan open source the code needed to keep these devices operational, instead of unceremoniously cutting us all off. I’ll paste the transcript of those messages below.

I’ve written Geoff Barrall (Nexsan’s current Chief Technology Officer, and former founder of Connected Data, since purchased by Nexsan) via Linked-In (haven’t heard anything back), and to the support staff at Nexsan. I copied my most recent response/request to all of the email addresses I could find on the Nexsan “Contact Us” page. The rationale for this escalation is that this would not be a decision that’d take place at the lower support/sales staff level, but rather something for the management team. I would invite anyone reading this here to echo this message to anyone on the management team (https://www.nexsan.com/leadership-team/) It’d be especially good if you had direct contact info for them through your networks.

If this post becomes locked, or deleted, you can contact me at supertwang@gmail.com if you want to share developments.

------------------ email transcript to date is pasted below:
Kris, (cc others at Nexsan)

Thank you for your response. I have appreciated Nexsan’s follow-through in communicating with me about your company’s End-Of-Life plan. However, it is my hope that Imation/Nexsan will revisit your current plan, and consider adopting an approach that will not only work better for your current, and potentially future customers, but for the future brand-strength, and customer loyalty, of Imation/Nexsan itself. I will propose a more supportive end-of-life approach later in this message, but first, let’s look with a critical eye at the message you’re currently sending:

…we do not intend to disrupt service for our consumer class Transporters after Sept 2017, so they should continue to work. However, if something goes wrong with our central services after that point, we cannot commit to ongoing support. Because of this I would recommend you move the data to another location prior to Sept so as not to rely solely on the Transporter device.

For a company like Imation, who touts itself as a premier provider of data security through its Nexsan product line, it is surprising that you’d adopt your current approach – non-disruption with no support, and no guarantees, and imply that it is worth anything more than a total, final shutoff. It is in fact worth far less. If my data can go away at an arbitrary moment’s notice when something happens on your end, these devices are completely useless to me, for anything I value — in other words anything I’ve actually taken the time to store on them. I am storing business-critical data on mine, I can’t leave that to the whim of your company, or any company. This approach seems needlessly shortsighted and is going to cost you future business, unlike one that I will propose below.

By taking a scorched earth approach to moving forward, Imation/Nexsan is effectively transmitting the following messages to -not only- consumers, but also to all businesses who don’t find the value proposition in enterprise price-range products (startups, family businesses, small companies), as well as any Enterprise customers that bought into your Transporter options, and aren’t excited to have to immediately upgrade to the new Unity system. Customer goodwill is hard to come by, and you’re about to burn a whole boatload of it. Why do that?

Case study: myself. I worked for many years in high-end, world-reknowned film studios, where I led R&D efforts in an enterprise IT environment. I know the markets you’re shifting towards well. Currently, I run a creative technology business that depends on (consumer) Transporters, and Drobos, for many of our workflows. Because this is a smaller business, your enterprise offerings didn’t make sense to me. Nonetheless, I have been building & spec’ing technology systems for clients for over 10 years. What I hear in your response to my enquiry is:

• “You can just keep on using it, but we won’t fix it if we break it.”  (Takeaway: "Your DATA SECURITY is completely unimportant to Imation/Nexsan” —> Bad (future) investment )

• “Even though you bought, and use, our products and services, your BUSINESS is unimportant to us” (Takeaway: Imation/Nexsan is not at all committed to serving my business needs, and may change direction at any point —> Bad (future) investment)

• “Even though you bought, and use, our products and services, we’ve decided to change directions (To Unity/Enterprise-only).  We don’t care that we’re making your INVESTMENT in Imation-owned technologies worthless.” (Takeaway: “Imation/Nexsan is not going to be there for me down the line if I purchase a product today.  Instead they’ll be off on some new product adventure that they’ll want me to buy again —> Bad (future) investment)

• “Having made a choice to invest in the technologies we valued enough to buy, your LOYALTY to our new technology is worthless to us.” (Takeaway: Imation is not a company you can rely on —> Bad (future) investment).

This is not a good way to build future customers, or to treat present or past ones, but I can propose one that is:

Why not maintain the goodwill in the customer base you’ve built up, by open-sourcing the systems needed to keep those legacy product lines functioning.  For the Transporters, I’d imagine that this would be the central web-app & server setup allowing for the changing of settings on the device.  This approach shows goodwill and a positive message to your current community of customers, who may well become buyers in the enterprise space.  Also, at a minimal cost, it offloads any cost of future maintenance to the open-source community.  This won’t cannibalize your product lines, because you’ve shifted to a new, supposedly better, offering (Unity), and completely shifted out of the low-end (sub-enterprise) market.  In fact because of this supportive approach, many of the customers you stand for now, might actually consider your Unity platform when next in an enterprise environment.  While I anticipate that you might have some concerns over sharing what you might see as proprietary code, I’d suggest that most of your “Special-sauce” is in the hardware/firmware itself, and that your management app only enables the core technologies elsewhere.  

Please revisit your “Cut-em-off-and-forget-em” end-of-life plan, and consider an open-sourcing strategy that will not only work better for your current, and potentially future customers, but for the brand-strength of Imation/Nexsan itself.  

We appreciate your business.

Really?  Prove it.  Your current actions and communications indicate otherwise.


Best,
Dave


Dave Loomis
Principal
Lumieria
http://lumieria.com

(Current happy customer, future (angry or happy, your choice) potential future customer)

On Jan 26, 2017, at 9:05 AM, Kris Buche KBuche@nexsan.com wrote:

Hi Dave,

Aileen reached out in regards to your conversation and questions about the Transporter Sync.

I have learned that we do not intend to disrupt service for our consumer class Transporters after Sept 2017, so they should continue to work. However, if something goes wrong with our central services after that point, we cannot commit to ongoing support. Because of this I would recommend you move the data to another location prior to Sept so as not to rely solely on the Transporter device.

We appreciate your business.

Cheers,

Kris Buche

nexsan.com | TW | IN | FB
Kris Buche
Inside Sales Manager
408-879-4309 O 612-240-5492 M | kbuche@nexsan.com

DAVE PARAPHRASING: Although I did not save a copy of the message… prior to this message I’d submitted an enquiry to the Nexsan support group asking whether my devices would become useless after Nexsan’s End-Of-Life date for the Transporter product line.

#7

I have been unaware of the progress on this subject and much of useful information has been provided in the posts above. I also thinks that it would now be difficult to sync the Transporter with the computer if I update my Operating System.

#8

Some new info on this topic:

--------------------------------------- I asked:
Hi all,

I am confused about your direction with your consumer products (Transporter/Transporter Sync)

Here: https://helper.nexsansupport.com/tfc_support
I see the products listed as if still active, but at the bottom of the page
I see: PLEASE NOTE: End of Life Products Matrix
BUT when I look at the linked page, I don’t see any of the consumer products listed.
Can you please clarify whether there is a known date on which you’re planning to stop supporting the Consumer Transporters?

Thank you,

Dave

------------------------------------------ Nexsan Support Answered
Hi Dave,

Please see ‘End of Support: Consumer-Class Transporters’ - Article Reference Number AA-01941
https://helper.nexsansupport.com/tfb_knowledge-base.php?action=showEntry&data=1868

Self help is available using keyword searches at https://helper.nexsansupport.com/tfc_knowledge-base.php

Regards
Nexsan Support

------------------------------------------ I replied:
Ok, that helps.

Would you be able to tell me whether I’m in danger of not being able to access my files on my device after Sept 1, 2017? It sounds like you’re going to keep the back end running, but the way the document describes it — “certain core features” — is a little vague. In other words, will it be enough core features to still be able to access my Transporter data? Will it still be enough to sync between two of them?

The primary thing I’m concerned with is formulating a clean exit strategy. I’d like to keep using my Transporters as long as I can (great product!), but it is of paramount importance that I can safely recover all of my data from at least 1 of my 2 Transporters before they stop working. I don’t really care if they can’t talk to each other, can’t find the central service, etc. but I must keep my data.

Can you provide any further details about what capabilities are expected to remain operational, and in the event of a total cutoff at Central Services, will I still be able to locally access my data?

Thank you.

Best,
Dave

— (no response to this yet)

#9

hi dave, can i check something…
if you had one of your transporters (assuming both had the same synced data), and if you had it hooked up at home locally, and if you were to lose all internet access, can you still currently access the data on it? (for example, via the desktop app)

#10

@Paul

Great idea to test that. That’d mean that whatever Nexsan decides to do (short of something nefarious like purposely bricking the devices), my data would at least be accessible.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work. Although the LOCAL folders are still accessible (because they live on your machine), the Library-based storage is not accessible. It says “Offline, No Transporters Available.”

I suspect the device, and the Desktop app both phone home for the app to discover the IP address of the hardware on the local network, (or for that matter, any remote IPs too).

It’d be nice if Nexsan would give us the abilities to enter our own list of device IPs (local or remote) and ( for remote ) external Ports in to a “Manual” config file, so we could continue using our devices whatever happens off at the remote server.

Someone familiar with network sniffing could probably figure out the call/response of the hardware and software (I suspect it isn’t too complex… probably just some json/xml bundles reporting network locations and contents in the API). Unfortunately, I don’t know how to do that.

If I knew the API format I could probably build a little local app to replace the server that would enable the above “Manual” operation without a central server. By using a dynamic IP address (I use duckdns.org) for each of the networks you have a Transporter connected to, your devices would always find each other.

Anyone out there know how to reverse engineer the Nexsan call/response API?

Or, maybe Nexsan would be kind enough to open-source it?

Or build the Manual mode into the app, before EOL?

We should all be asking their customer support for this as they are effectively rendering all of our devices as unusable, or at best unreliable.[hr]
Nexsan’s response to my last question:

For backup and redundancy purposes, we recommend keeping at least one copy of all critical data somewhere else, such as an external hard drive, in addition to your Transporter.

[ My interpretation ]
So, I can’t rely on any data that I store on a Transporter after the support expires (because it can suddenly disappear)


My follow up question to them:

That’s what I was afraid of. I can no longer rely on the device to be a primary store of my data.

Could you ask your engineering team a question?

Would they be willing to put in a “Manual” mode into the desktop app that would read a simple config file of:
Ip address (internal, external)
Port (external)
Name

for each device, instead of reaching out to the central server to get this information, so that at minimum I could locate and connect to my Transporter on my local network. This would let me use my device confidently all the way to the day that the central server doesn’t work, because I’d know that my data would be safe, even when that day came. Also, by using a Dynamic-DNS service, perhaps I could also connect my Transporters to each other as well, to continue sync’ing without having to rely on network support from Nexsan. This would allow myself and others to confidently continue using our devices.

Alternately, would they be willing to share the API so that enterprising developers like myself, who love the consumer product, could support it from within the community of users?

I could imagine an open-source stand-in app, that would replace the Central Services component of Nexsan’s article with something that could be community-supported. Given that your other product lines continue to use the same protocols, anything open source that was developed, would also add value to your existing product lines.

Either one of these would be a win for Nexsan, allowing for a much more graceful exit from the consumer sector than more or less rendering all of our devices useless for what was, at least for me, their main use ( primary storage, for things requiring a double-redundant offsite backup ). These are great little devices… why not exit gracefully from supporting them, as you plan to, but let them continue to be used?

Please let me know what the team says if you would.

#11

ah thanks for trying that, and it will be good to see what the outcome is,

hopefully it wont be something like my initial understanding of the adoboe cloud, (which as far as i understood it, you could only use a program, such as photoshop etc, only when connected to the internet… which is a completely silly concept i must admit, especially if you lose internet access or theres a storm affecting wifi etc etc, - so i just went ahead and bought a cheaper version called elements, which works perfectly and all the time) :slight_smile: but yes lets see what they come back with…