“Public cloud computing asks a fundamental question: Do you have to own computational resources to benefit from them?”—John Webster
Let’s face it, computer’s crash, hard-disk drives get corrupted, servers go down. If your business depends on large data sets, critical production files—then you know you have no choice but to back up your files. Whether you work in a large office environment, or you are an entrepreneur working in a small office—then you are also faced with how to back up your files.
The cloud offers just that option. You have choices from Google Docs, iCloud, Amazon, Dropbox, and many more. The ability to store files off premise has helped many companies and individuals sleep better. Many of the services are offered for free, or for nominal fees. As a result, one can store large volumes of data in the cloud—in the hundreds of gigabytes.
Murphy’s Law says “If anything can go wrong, it will!” And that is just as true for data. If it can get corrupted, lost, or damaged—it will. Devices can get misplaced, damaged, and files can get lost. , Businesses can get stuck without access to important information. It becomes imperative for businesses to invest in back-up data storage, and the cloud is one such system to keep important files safe.
When it comes to cloud computing, blockchain promises to disrupt the cloud storage space. In the case of enterprise storage, John Webster, Forbes , asks the question: “Are there alternatives for industry to have to own expensive, large scale, high performance storage boxes to store, capture, and leverage data that may be of value to your organization?”
Blockchain Used for Hosting and Cloud Services
One question on storage comes up: Can blockchain be used for hosting cloud services? Lukas Hertig, in a report in Plesk.com, suggests there are “hidden Blockchain opportunities.”
When you install solar panels to save on energy, you have the potential to generate more power than you use. If you happen to have a power company that buys back power, you can sell your excess electrical energy to the power company. (SolarTech)
In a similar way, Hertig suggests that the opportunity now exists that if a company has hundreds, or thousands of servers in their inventory—there’s likely to be a number of the servers that will be idle, or portions of a server that remain unused. Thus the company has the option to sell their server space to the ever growing distributed blockchain network. Plesk has a network of 382,000 servers, which are globally decentralized across various data centers. (Plesk)
In the near future, a company may be able to offer your spare hard disk space on the decentralized storage network, and be able to back-up your server into decentralized storage.
Building the best decentralized storage project has been fun and challenging and we have come a long way since Sia was first conceived.
Time to go back to 2013 and look at the history of Sia. A thread 👇: https://t.co/T4NX5zowWs
— Sia (@SiaTechHQ) July 15, 2019
However, this can only work if the data on the servers are protected. Most conversations about blockchain center about the transparency of blockchain technology. As businesses rely on the privacy of their data, this model will not develop very far. With public blockchain technology, there is no central control, all nodes and are decentralized. Hertig says “some would call them ‘uncontrolled’”.
As private, and permissioned blockchains have been developed for some time now, we now have a solution that will make the sharing of distributed servers more likely. With the private blockchains, all stakeholders will be able to share data “across multiple companies and competitors in a secure way.” (Hertig, Lukas)
In this way, decentralized cloud storage is a blockchain use case that’s quickly emerging, with the potential to solve one of the biggest online challenges today: monopolistic cloud storage, which is now controlled by a just a few super large providers—Google, Microsoft, Dropbox, Amazon, among others.
Decentralized Storage Projects
Blockchain’s decentralized storage projects can disrupt cloud storage space. Blockapps notes that businesses can store data on more secured and private systems—making decentralized cloud storage difficult to attack compared to traditional centralized data.
Two companies, Sia and Storj, have started their cryptocurrencies—Siacoin, Storjcoin to incentivize usage and create a “market for buying and selling decentralized storage”. Increase in file protection, and secured data is accomplished with redundancy, inherent in distributed files. Moreover, costs are reduced by at least 50% through greater efficiencies. (Blockapps)
Private decentralized storage projects has the promise to disrupt cloud storage. Patrick Nelson, Network World says that “decentralized blockchain-based file storage will be more secure, will make it harder to lose data, and will be cheaper than anything seen before.”
Businesses require stable and trusted systems. With the dangers of hacking from random bad actors, to state sponsored espionage—whether it’s form North Korea, China, or Russia attempting to affect our national elections—it’s clear that digital technology needs to stay many steps ahead of those who are determined to breech cloud content.
With developments of blockchain in recent years, there is the promise for industry to be able to safely and confidently store data in a trusted cloud eco-system.
Blockapps, “How Blockchain Will Disrupt Data Storage”, https://blockapps.net/blockchain-disrupt-data-storage/, December 2017.
Hertig, Lukas, “Hidden Blockchain Opportunities (3): Decentralized Cloud Storage” https://www.plesk.com/about-us/, November 2018.
Nelson, Patrick, “How data storage will shift to blockchain”, Network World, April 2019.
SolarTech, “How To Sell Solar Power Back To The Utility”, https://solartechonline.com/blog/net-metering-how-to-sell-residential-solar-power-back-to-the-utility-company/, July 2019.
Webster, John, “Cloud Storage On Premises And On Your Terms”, Forbes, March 2019.