What is Distributed Storage?
Each day, over 67 million Instagram posts, 5.9 billion YouTube videos, and 306 billion emails are posted, watched, and sent. That’s a lot of data!
That’s only a tiny slice of the total digital traffic we see each day. But every single one of those actions is creating bits of data. Each day, 2.5 Exabytes are produced. And for context, there are 1 million terabytes in an exabyte. While very little of that stays on our own devices, those bytes need to live somewhere!
Your business is likely facing the same issues the Twitters and Googles of the world are seeing—an ever-growing need for affordable data storage systems.
Next-gen distributed storage systems are how we’re addressing your ever-increasing storage need without compromising security or performance. In this article, we’ll discuss traditional data storage, its evolution towards cloud storage and then move on to cover distributed storage, its pros and cons, and how CrowdStorage is taking distributed technologies to new levels.
Storage Origins: Single Drive and RAID.
If you are looking to back up data in a secure, private, and affordable way, one option is to use RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks). RAID storage uses multiple disk drives to copy or mirror your primary data across multiple physical disks. It provides excellent data privacy and some improved durability but is insufficient to protect one’s data in situations such as fire, flood, and theft. RAID is a definite improvement from storing your data on a single drive, but both methods still suffer from traditional data storage shortcomings; such as security vulnerabilities, lack of accessibility, and data loss.
Entering the Cloud
To help improve accessibility, many businesses started outsourcing their RAID storage and moving their backups to third-party providers. This meant that the same RAID systems were present and accessible through the internet, but another party maintains the physical drives. This increases accessibility, but is costly and results in diminished privacy.
Anyone using a “RAID in cloud” service with an internet connection can access their data online. But the move doesn’t solve the traditional security or vulnerability problems. Users are doing the same thing they used to do, just on someone else’s servers and drives. In fact, the move to third parties increases privacy concerns and creates outage problems uncommon in the pre-cloud world. With centralized cloud storage, you can access your data from anywhere. But if the centralized location goes down, everyone using that storage platform also loses their access.
When these centralized locations go down, there is nothing that an individual or business can do to access their files. Just like losing the hard drive, the data is effectively gone. During these situations, large storage providers are unfortunately known for their sub-par support and indifference towards the impact on the small business down-stream.
Companies and consumers needed a new storage model that addressed their vulnerability, durability, accessibility, and now their growing reliability and privacy concerns. These problems are, unfortunately, unavoidable with a centralized storage system. Much has been done over the years to improve cloud technology and address each of these issues but to truly solve these shortcomings, a fundamentally new model is required.
Distributed Storage: A Solution
Distributed storage systems offer significant advantages over the centralized model. It didn’t take long before several sizeable platforms like Amazon S3, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure were offering distributed services.
In the distributed model, instead of storing data in one location, data is stored repeatedly among multiple physical servers called nodes. These nodes can be located in the same region or even across continents. This type of network is formally called a “distributed data store.” Distributed data store systems differ from traditional data storage in that your data is copied (in whole or in part) across several servers in a storage network. This creates redundancy for data availability. If a single server is down or lost, the entirety of your data is backed up and distributed across several other nodes.
Unique algorithms are used to distribute and store users’ data across the node network. This method creates two different types of data—primary and secondary data. Primary data is when a node is given the original, whole data set. Secondary data is when a different node is given only part of the primary data set as a backup. Which nodes receive secondary data sets depends on the platform’s algorithm and method.
No one node holds all of the platform’s primary data, so the risk of holding the data has been distributed across a broader storage system. If any node was to be lost, along with the primary data, the nodes with secondary data could be used to recover the whole data set quickly. Distributed storage systems like those offered from Amazon S3, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure have a variety of benefits over RAID storage. These benefits revolve around their high accessibility, durability, and versatility. The platform, however, isn’t perfect as it still has frequent privacy concerns, and is expensive.
What to Think About.
Services like Amazon S3, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure storage provide a higher standard of accessibility. This is good. But what are the downsides?
CrowdStorage: Distributed Storage 2.0
CrowdStorage has created a new class of distributed cloud storage that offers enhanced privacy, even higher availability, and improved durability, all at a much lower cost than big-brand storage services.
With our Polycloud technology, users’ data is encrypted, fragmented, distributed among nodes in the distributed storage system, and secured for storage.
Typically, we break the data into 40 pieces and store among nodes in the CrowdStorage network. In order to access your data you only need any 20 of the stored pieces. This means that even if up to half of the nodes are unavailable, you still have full uninterrupted access. And the likelihood of half of the nodes in different locations being unavailable at the same time is extremely remote.
Additionally, our enterprise-grade distributed data storage solution is more affordable than traditional cloud storage. Storing fractions of your distributed files via multiple storage nodes means more security, privacy, availability, built-in data redundancy, and geographic distribution. With CrowdStorage, you have increased protection from events that disrupt data centers and more robust storage for your critical information, without the weaknesses inherent to a standard cloud-based system.
The Future of Distributed Storage
Better for Your Data, Your Budget, and Our Planet
We all want to keep our data as secure and as available as possible. And distributed storage technologies have made these benefits available to users and businesses worldwide. Building on these technologies, CrowdStorage has been able to find a new way to offer premium distributed storage at a lower cost. We hope this has been helpful in better understanding distributed storage and the solutions CrowdStorage has available. If you’d like to sign up for Polycloud, please click the link below and send us your information.