Companies face several problems when storing data on premises. There are significant technical and cost issues with scaling infrastructure up and down, and maintaining storage area networks is challenging. One also has to deal with complex data compatibility and security issues.

These challenges have led to the emergence of a cloud storage model that provides scalability, agility, security, cost savings, and simplicity. Fortune Business Insights expects the global cloud storage market to grow from $83.41 billion in 2022 to $376.37 billion in 2029.

Cloud storage allows users to save data to an external location via the public Internet or a dedicated private network connection. Conventionally, cloud storage solutions like Dropbox, Sync, and Google Drive use centralized cloud providers like Amazon Web Services and Azure to store your data. Dropbox is a cloud-based file storage and collaboration platform that allows users to store, access, and share files from anywhere on any device.

With Sync, users can easily share files with others and collaborate on projects, even in real time. The solution also provides advanced security features, such as end-to-end encryption and two-factor authentication, to protect sensitive information.

Google Drive is a file storage and synchronization service developed by Google that allows users to store and access their files, including documents, photos, and videos, from any device with an Internet connection.

Centralized solutions, however, have a major drawback. Having the data stored in a central location gives the host enormous powers, such as disclosure of data to third parties without consent and loss of data due to hardware or network failures and cyber attacks.

Decentralized storage has emerged as a viable alternative to centralized options. Powered by blockchain technology, decentralized storage applications are proving quite useful in an era where business operations depend on efficient data handling.

This article looks at what decentralized storage is and how it works. It also briefly compares centralized and decentralized storage solutions.

What is decentralized storage?

Decentralized storage is a type of storage solution that is based on a blockchain-based decentralized network, rather than relying on a single centralized entity. Data is kept on multiple nodes in a decentralized network rather than on a single server under the control of a single authority. This increases security and reliability by ensuring that data is disseminated and protected against errors and other potential risks.

Decentralized storage options also give consumers full ownership and control over their data, rather than having to rely on a third party to manage and retain it. InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) and StorX are a pair of instances of decentralized storage systems.

IPFS is a decentralized peer-to-peer file storage network that allows users to store, access, and share files in a distributed manner, providing greater security, privacy, and scalability. StorX enables anyone to securely encrypt, fragment, and distribute critical data across multiple hosting nodes globally. Each file stored on StorX is split into multiple components prior to encryption and stored on separate storage nodes managed by different operators located around the world.

Structured as a group of autonomous storage networks, StorX does not have a single operator having full access to data belonging to a single user. As different operators hold chunks of data, no single owner wields disproportionate influence, increasing data security. The network has built-in privacy protection for personal data belonging to specific users.

How does decentralized storage work?

Let’s continue with the StorX example to better understand how a decentralized solution works. You use a username and password to upload a file to the StorX network. Under the hood, the network generates a unique private key, encrypts the file, segregates it into multiple chunks, and distributes it among independent nodes globally.

To ensure redundancy, the network creates multiple copies of these chunks, ensuring that if one node becomes unavailable, the data chunks can be retrieved from alternate nodes. Every time a user wants to recover the files, they use the login credentials to activate the private keys and background to reassemble the file for access.

The network uses native SRX tokens as a means of payment. Data centers with excess storage capacity operate storage nodes. At regular intervals, they provide proof of storage to the platform.

Storage node reputation mechanism

To determine high quality standards across storage nodes, StorX has a storage node reputation mechanism, an AI-powered application, which maintains regular quality control across all storage nodes. The mechanism assigns a quality score to each node based on the quality control performed.

The factors that influence the node reputation mechanism are the efficiency of the node, its quality and location, and the amount of SRX participation. SRX is the native currency of StorX and powers the ecosystem. In terms of efficiency, the mechanism takes into account up-to-date security parameters and patches of the server’s operating system. The system also ensures that the nodes are not concentrated in the same Internet service provider or location.

Decentralized vs. Centralized Storage Solutions

The design of decentralized storage platforms makes them a better bet than centralized systems. Using StorX as an example, let us get an idea of ​​its performance:

Critical data storage

While centralized storage systems are prone to counterfeiting and restrictions, a decentralized network comprising more than 4,000 nodes around the world makes StorX capable of storing critical data. All nodes in StorX are enterprise grade, which means it is server grade hardware that resides in a tier 3 data center at a minimum. The quality of the hardware manifests itself in the quality of the storage.

StorX restricts mapping of publicly accessible data. Only the owner of the data or the people who have been granted access can retrieve the data stored in their account through the private keys.

use of encryption

Some centralized storage systems have tried to compete with decentralized storage systems by creating hybrid decentralized solutions that lack basic decentralization elements, that is, by transferring decision making to a dispersed network.

StorX, on the other hand, uses transport and content encryption, making stored data more secure. StorX offers decentralized cloud storage that implements AES-256 military-grade encryption and sharding techniques, ensuring data security as no single node owns the entire data.

Advanced cloud storage

In conventional cloud storage, data is stored on a single file server hosted in one geographic location. However, decentralized data fragments the archive into several parts that are distributed in various places around the world. Since decentralized storage does not have a single point of failure, it has the ability to withstand multiple simultaneous outages or even censorship.

StorX implements a mechanism that combines the best of both. While the file is distributed to different nodes, these are all server-grade hardware and not just any computer. Users get advanced cloud storage, which is a combination of traditional cloud and decentralized data structure.

improved speed

Unlike conventional forms of storage where a large amount of data is stored in a single source, decentralized storage has multiple nodes to store data. In centralized systems, speed depends on multiple factors such as connectivity, bandwidth, and the number of processors running on the server. However, in a decentralized system like StorX, the system queries the network and fetches data from the closest nodes, resulting in optimal data retrieval speeds.

The future of decentralized storage systems

Decentralized storage systems may grow in popularity in the future, as they offer numerous benefits over traditional centralized storage systems, such as increased security, data privacy, and increased reliability. They also have the potential to reduce costs and increase the accessibility of storage resources.

Related: Internet of Things (IoT): A Beginner’s Guide

In addition, decentralized storage systems are expected to improve in scalability, security, and ease of use in the future, making them more attractive to a broader spectrum of users, including individuals and organizations. Demand for decentralized storage solutions is anticipated to increase with the spread of Internet of Things devices and other decentralized systems, spurring further innovation and research in this area.

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