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Storj – Tardigrade review: Decentralized cloud storage

by | Jul 30, 2020 | Reviews | 0 comments

Introduction

Tardigrade Is a decentralized cloud storage platform that offers an alternative to popular cloud storage services such as Amazon S3 and Azure blob storage at lower costs. The platform utilizes blockchain technology where anyone can participate and rent their excess of hard drive capacity and earn cryptocurrencies in return. The files are encrypted and split into pieces on the client-side and then distributed across a network of Storage Nodes.

Tardigrade is a relatively new product, but you can see in the table that the platform shows good durability and availability data since its launch. For comparison, a similar service of Amazon S3 guarantees 99.999999999% durability and 99.99% availability.

Durability and availability track table

Durability is the probability that the object still exists and that you can recover it from the storage while availability is the probability that the object will be available at any given moment. So lower durability means there is a chance to lose the object forever, and low availability means the object will not be available at certain times, but it is still recoverable.

The file storage process .

The concept is somewhat similar to torrent file sharing, where files are split into smaller segments and distributed between users on the network.

Tardigrade files are encrypted on the client-side and then splits to smaller parts in a process called sharding. The shards are stored on separate storage nodes. Storage nodes are random computers that are renting out their spare storage space and, in return, receive a monetary reward.

Tardigrade Sharding

Eighty identical copies of the same shard are stored redundantly on separate storage nodes to ensure the durability and availability of each file. The system needs access to twenty-nine out of the eighty copies to recover the file. So even if there is a failure of fifty-one out of eighty storage nodes, the file will still be available.

Tardigrade redundancy

The Architecture is entirely different compared to standard centralized cloud storage. Amazon S3 standard, for example, stores full copies of the files in three different availability zones. An availability zone is a data center in a similar geographical location within the same country. if one location is temporarily compromised, the data will still be available on the other two locations.

S3 Availability zones

Costs

The prices are competitive for the frequent access storage category, compared to the major cloud services Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. But not cheap enough to compete with storage services like Backblaze B2. Monthly storage costs are $ 0.01 \ GB And download costs of $ 0.045 \ GB. As with all competing storage services, there are no upload costs.

Pricing

Tardigrade currently doesn’t offer storage tiers and can only be compared to frequent access type of storage.

ServiceStorage per month *Download bandwidth *
Tardigrade$ 0.01 \ GB$ 0.045 \ GB
S3 standard$ 0.023 \ GB0. \ GB *
Azure blob storage$ 0.0184 \ GB$ 0.05 \ GB*
Google cloud storage$ 0.026 \ GB$ 0.05 \ GB
Backblaze B2$ 0.005 \ GB$ 0.01 \ GB

*Prices are accurate for July 2020 for current prices.  You can check Amazon, Google, and Azure websites for and compare pricing for different tiers.

Using Tardigrade

Tardigrade web interface is not as advanced as it’s competitors and can’t perform upload and download actions from the web browser by default.

dashboard

To interact using the command line, you have to install either Uplink CLI or S3 gateway. Here are the links to the required software installations:

Uplink s3 gateway

Uplink s3 gateway Is an S3 compatible command-line interface, it will let you use AWS commands to perform actions such as uploads and downloads on the platform.

Once installed and configured You will also be able to interact with Tardigrade buckets using the web browser.

MiniIO browser

To use the command line, you will also need to install Aws S3 CLI. After installing the software you can refer to the Amazon S3 command reference guide and use AWS commands to upload and download objects.

Uplink CLI

Uplink CLI is native to tardigrade and will allow you to upload and download files via the command line. Examples:

uploading a file:

uplink upload command

Listing files:

uplink list command

downloading a file:

uplink download command

The following video provides a full demonstration:

How to rent unused disk space and earn Storj Tokens

You can earn Storj tokens by renting your unused hard drive space. Storj is an Ethereum Erc 20 Token, which can be exchanged to Ethereum or Bitcoin and sold for cash.

The process of creating a storage node requires some technical knowledge, but there are video tutorials and documents that go through it step by step. There is a full documentation for windows and linux. You can also use the video guides below.

The number of coins you will receive will depend on the storage space you allocate and your internet bandwidth. The following table will give you a rough estimate for potential earnings :

For a more accurate assessment, I suggest checking the official storj forum where you can find comments from users that post real-time data on their monthly profitability.

Video guide on creating a storage  node On windows .

Video guide, creating a storage center(storage node) On Linux .

The Storj Token

Storj is the currency for payment operations on the tardigrade platform. It is is an Ethereum ERC-20 Utility token. With a fixed supply of 425,000,000, the token can be traded on an exchange for Ethereum and Bitcoin or held for investment purposes.

You can use Storj tokens to pay for storage space. The platform also accepts credit card payments, but by using Storj, you will get a 10% bonus on storage space.

 Hopefully, As the project progresses, there will be additional use cases for the token.

Direct competitors

Sia Or Siacoin Is another distributed file storage project that I will review at a later stage .

Advantages vs Disadvantages

Advantages

  • Client-side encryption and a distributed network of storage nodes reduce attack surface, which makes the platform well suited for the storage of sensitive data that is a target for attack and censorship.
  • Credit card is not required for payments
  • Tardigrade is open source
  • Competitive prices
  • Sharing and earning models that can benefit the community.
  • Compatibility with Amazon s3 . You can use AWS commands to perform actions on tardigrade
  • Active development for details , check out the  road map

Disadvantages

  • Early Tech, Tardigrade, was launched in March 2020. The platform is competing with centralized platforms that have been used and tested for years.
  • The number of services and features in the platform is very limited compared to centralized storage services such as Microsoft , Google , Amazon .
  • Price is not competitive enough to compete with smaller centralized storage solutions like backblaze b2 storage

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