Swarming: The New Future of Data Storage
Swarming: The New Future of Data Storage
In this post, we discuss the nature of decentralized data storage, blockchain, and the future of data, network, and information security.
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
Decentralized Data Storage Systems Are Changing Computing
Managing data better is on a lot of businesses’ minds lately. Whether it’s because of the new GDPR regulation, the increasing threat of cyberattacks or the exponentially rising amount of data businesses are having to store – the penny has finally dropped for everyone: it’s time to pay more attention to data storage.
As businesses grow even more dependent on data in the age of AI and the Internet of Things, the risk that poor data storage and management poses becomes existential. Businesses everywhere are reacting by leaving their old on-premises data servers behind and moving to the more secure, cloud-storage solutions provided by computing giants like AWS and Microsoft.
But here’s the thing: the cloud as we know it is no longer the safest place to store data. In fact, the inherent weaknesses of the centralized cloud mean it is already being disrupted in a big way. Blockchain-enabled decentralized data-storage systems – which can distribute information across the network in swarms – are about to change how the world does computing.
Before we talk about swarms, let’s go back to basics.
Centralized v Decentralized
Currently, you or your business will store your data on either on-site servers or cloud servers – or a combination of the two. The cloud servers you use will probably all be owned by one company in a particular location. This is called centralized cloud computing.
Swarm computing, however, is decentralized cloud computing. No one owns the entire system. Instead, data is stored across millions of computers, each utilizing their spare capacity. Swarms of computers work together to serve everyone’s data needs. Each computer becomes a storage unit in a huge blockchain-enabled network.
Security in decentralized networks is far superior to centralized cloud networks as the data is chopped into pieces and stored across many locations. That means no one can take over the network and steal the data. And in the highly unlikely event of a breach, the data involved is minimal so the consequences are minimal too.
Swarm computing is highly efficient. Think of swarms like torrent peers. A swarm is actually spread out across the entire planet. This means that if you're retrieving your data, it’s coming from the node closest to you rather than from the other side of the world. So it’s going to come as fast as possible. And if you're retrieving data from several swarms at the same time, it’s all going to come to you in parallel – just like torrents when you're downloading data from peers.
This is how a decentralized cloud-based database can have infinitely better performance, reliability, scalability, and security than a centralized cloud. It can consistently offer the same performance during peak times. But during low usage times, it doesn’t require the same amount of hardware to be committed. A network like this can scale with a business’s needs so it doesn’t have to manually manage servers and pay up-front for peak hardware costs.
An Internet in the Making
Blockchain technology and applications are developing quickly. In fact, a new, decentralized internet is being built as we speak. You can think of blockchains like Ethereum as operating systems. They’re like the decentralized versions of Windows, Android or macOS. Companies like Golem are effectively using computers everywhere to build a worldwide supercomputing system, which is needed to power all the rendering taking place on the internet today. Companies like FileCoin or Storj do file storage, just like their centralized cloud equivalents like Dropbox.
This decentralized ecosystem also needs a decentralized database – somewhere to store and manage data so it’s easily accessible for websites and applications to pull from. Players like Oracle are doing that in the traditional internet. Companies like Bluzelle are going to fill the gap on a decentralized internet.
And what’s great is all these decentralized players are collaborating as they create an entire ecosystem.
The Next Steps for Businesses
Decentralized or swarming data-storage networks would be suitable for any businesses that use an application that needs a database and needs to guarantee performance, reliability, scalability, and security. Like cloud computing, there is little need for businesses and individuals to understand how they work. What is important is the benefits and guarantees they offer, and how easy it is to move data to them.
Choosing the right options within the decentralized cloud is important, as is determining a migration plan that is comprehensive and adaptive. For example, the cloud network businesses consider should have a testing environment. The migration should be carried out in that environment first, ensuring there are no unexpected results.
It can be helpful to find a database consultant that can develop the migration plan and execute it. But moving to a decentralized cloud should be no more complicated than moving to a centralized one.
Businesses have to start making some important storage decisions in the new data-driven world. At the moment, decentralized data storage is already the most secure, efficient, and scalable solution.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.