Peer To Peer Storage

Peer to peer storage is a new, cutting-edge option for offsite backup. It combines several advantages over traditional self-storage.  However, the trust factor may be the greatest obstacle to adoption.

Decentralization

Decentralized storage networks reduce the need for large data centers and server hardware, allowing companies to lower their costs by up to 80%. They also offer security and resiliency by storing multiple copies of the same file in different locations. They achieve this by using a system of sharding to divide files into chunks that are stored on separate hosts.

These chunks are then saved in the decentralized network and retrieved when needed. This creates redundancies that ensure data is accessible even if a single host goes down or loses its data. Decentralized storage also provides a range of other benefits, including lower cost and flexible interoperability.

The most notable feature of decentralized storage is that it eliminates the need for centralized servers. Instead, files are distributed among a network of peers around the world and stored on their devices. This means that there is no single point of failure, and the network can continue to operate even if one of the peers experiences a failure or a cyberattack.

Reliability

Many companies are introducing peer-to-peer storage services that offer robust security and reliable backup. These systems store information in multiple locations and shred it into fragments, making it hard for unauthorized individuals to access the data. They also leverage built-in trust in social network relationships to enable storage sharing. This approach exhibits improved resilience to correlated failures and provides cost savings over conventional cloud solutions, such as data centers and high-end NAS appliances.

While these systems are highly efficient, they have some limitations in terms of reliability. For example, they must replicate and store large amounts of data to achieve six nines (99.9%) reliability. This can consume a significant amount of bandwidth and storage resources, which are limited. Additionally, a peer computer may be offline due to the need to update software or hardware or because of a virus attack. This can starve the peer from the necessary bandwidth for P2P activity. This is particularly problematic if a file contains a state of the application that must be reliably updated.

Security

When you download a file from the internet, the data flows in one direction. The website acts as a server and sends the file to your computer or device. But with a peer to peer network, the data is shared by many computers that act as servers and clients at the same time.

The network uses distributed hash tables to store and retrieve data efficiently. When a client wants to locate a piece of data, it queries the DHT with the corresponding key and retrieves the information from the network.

Some industries may not trust the potential security threats in this model.  For example, HIPPA regulations that specify the handling of patient information and patient privacy.

Another issue is the spread of malicious files in P2P networks. Since no central authority is verifying file content, inexperienced users may unintentionally share malware with other users.

To mitigate these risks, enterprises that use peer-to-peer storage systems should implement a backup solution to protect the stored data from loss and ensure that the information can be recovered in the event of a failure. 

Apps

BitTorrent Sync is a leading P2P storage app that enables users to sync and share files securely across multiple devices. It utilizes the BitTorrent protocol, which ensures fast and efficient file transfers without relying on a central server. With BitTorrent Sync, you can easily create your own private cloud, keeping your data secure and accessible on your terms.

SyncThing is an open-source P2P storage app that emphasizes privacy and security. It allows users to synchronize files across multiple devices without relying on any centralized servers. SyncThing uses strong encryption to protect data during transmission and ensures that only authorized devices can access the shared content. With its user-friendly interface and robust security features, SyncThing has gained popularity among privacy-conscious users.

The InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) is a decentralized P2P protocol that aims to revolutionize the way we store and access files on the internet. Rather than relying on traditional server-based infrastructure, IPFS leverages a distributed network of nodes to store and retrieve data. IPFS assigns a unique hash to each file, making content addressable and eliminating duplication. This innovative approach to storage has garnered significant attention and is being actively developed and adopted by various projects. 

Storj is a blockchain-based P2P cloud storage platform that enables users to rent out their spare storage space in exchange for digital currency. It leverages the power of blockchain technology to provide secure, decentralized, and cost-effective storage solutions. Storj encrypts files before distributing them across its network, ensuring that only the file owner has access to the decrypted content. Its unique incentive mechanism encourages users to contribute their storage resources while maintaining data integrity and privacy. 

As the demand for scalable and secure storage solutions continues to grow, peer-to-peer storage apps offer a compelling alternative to traditional cloud-based services. By harnessing the power of a distributed network, these apps provide users with greater control over their data, enhanced privacy, and often cost-effective storage options. It remains to be seen if the trust factor can be overcome.

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