AWS Killer? Blockchain-Based Cloud Storage in a P2P Architecture

November 21, 2019 | Digital Assets, News
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The Tardigrade Decentralized Cloud Storage Service claims it costs less than half of legacy cloud storage providers.

Storj Labs’ beta storage service announced its Beta2 launch and the pricing thereof. The Tardigrade Decentralized Cloud Storage Service will cost $10 per terabyte (TB) per month for static storage. That’s equivalent to 1 cent per gigabyte (GB). The blockchain-based, P2P storage service costs $45 per terabyte, or 45 cents per gigabyte, of download bandwidth, consumed. It offers a 99.97% availability.

In contrast, AWS S3 costs $23 per terabyte for static storage per month at the availability of 95% to 99%.

Tardigrade blockchain storage: How it works

Tardigrade uses the blockchain to store encrypted data in a decentralized, peer-to-peer (P2P) model on the computers of users globally. Currently, Tardigrade has 400 active users.

According to Storj Labs’ CEO Ben Golub, data is first encrypted, then broken up into 80 pieces. Just 30 of these file fragments are needed to reconstruct back the whole data, however.

Redundancy is built into the system. “We can get those 30 pieces from any of 80 or more drives that have those pieces on them,” Golub said to Computerworld. “If one of them is busy or some of them are on a slow network, it doesn’t matter.” Because it is decentralized, the service automatically chooses different paths with higher bandwidth.

For the B2 release, Storj Labs claims the following recorded metrics:

  • Availability: For the past month, 99.96%. For the last 21 days, 100%.
  • Durability: 100% [“Since launching the platform into Alpha (our Vanguard v0.1.0 release) in April 2019, Tardigrade has never lost any of the approximately 2 million files stored on the network.”]
  • Performance: On par with, or superior to, major centralized cloud storage providers like Amazon S3.

People with spare capacity on their computers can rent it out to Storj in return for a payment in cryptocurrency. Alternatively, then can avail free storage and network capacity from Storj.

Tardigrade blockchain storage: Ifs and Buts

According to Raj Bala, a research director at Gartner, P2P storage services may be cheaper than Amazon S3, “but they’re 100 times greater risk given the decentralized nature of the storage and the nascent companies behind them.”

Further, Bala is wary of the uptime claims of the P2P storage providers as compared to AWS, given that their model has to rebuild data in the event of the loss or disappearance of a network peer.

However, Golub points to the vulnerability of centralization. In 2017 AWS suffered a massive outage in the US-East-1 region due to human error in a highly centralized model.

“It’s more or less Uber for computers on a blockchain,” said Avivah Litan, Gartner VP, previously. “This is blockchain at its best, frankly — peer-to-peer networks where underutilized servers are traded.”

[Related Story: A Blockchain P2P Lending System at Scale Could Render London Bankers Irrelevant            ]

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