All posts in “storage”

Arweave’s Permaweb blockchain can host sites & apps forever

What if you could pay now to store something online permanently? You could preserve a website against censorship, save legal contracts, or offer an app even after your company fails. That’s the promise of Arweave‘s Permaweb.

The startup has built a new type of blockchain that relies on Moore’s Law-style declining data storage costs. Users pay for a few hundred years upfront (about half a cent per megabyte), and the interest accrued by the excess payment will perpetually cover the costs of shrinking storage prices.

The Permaweb quietly launched last June. Over 100 permanent apps have been built on Arweave’s infrastructure including an email client in the last six months, while 50,000 objects were stored on the Permaweb in October alone. As long as some node operators keep hosting the data on unused hard drive space, they keep getting paid, and the sites, apps, or files remain available. Instead of needing some special blockchain browser to access what’s stored, the Permaweb can be accessed through traditional web browsers and URLs.

Arweave founder Sam Williams

The potential of the Permaweb has attracted $5 million in funding led by Andreessen Horowitz’s a16z Crypto, and joined by other top blockchain investors Union Square Ventures and Multicoin Capital who’ve exchanged the cash for tokens from Arweave. Those tokens, and the rest Arweave is sitting on, could become increasingly valuable if the Permaweb becomes popular.

“Arweave’s mission is to become the new Library of Alexandria” Arweave founder Sam Williams writes, “but invulnerable to the pitfalls of centralised points of failure, ensuring that humanity’s shared knowledge and history is available to all future generations.”

Filling Orwell’s Memory Hole

The idea spawned from a slew of PhDs dropouts trying to address the fake news problem. They figured if sites or articles could be stored permanently in their original form, they couldn’t be changed or eradicated by a future despot.

The team discovered blockchains could handle this at small scale. But to decentralize large amounts of data, they developed a special kind of blockchain where miners are rewarded for storing a random old block from the chain, not just the most recent one. That meant the more of the total blocks they stored, the more they’d stand to earn.

After going through TechStars Berlin and recruiting some of their accelerator-mates, Arweave launched the Permaweb mid last year. Those who want to store something download a free Chrome, Firefox, or Brave browser extension, fund their wallet, and make a one-time payment. For example, here’s a permanently hosted forum that won’t disappear like many online communities have over the years.

While pricier than alternatives like AWS in the short-term, the Permaweb could theoretically keep files alive forever. Williams says that data storage costs have declined around 30% per year for a while, but the decentralized network would still be able to cover costs as long as that rate doesn’t fall lower than 0.5%. “If we dropped below 0.5% storage cost decline, then really, really bad things will have happened to humans.” And even then, today’s payments would cover 200 years of storage.

Another benefit is that users of applications can choose to use the original version of a Perma app instead of an updated one. That way if a developer polluted later versions with ads or privacy invasions, users could rely on the old one.

An important concern is that the Permaweb could be used to enable piracy. But Williams tells me the majority of node operators have to vote to approve hosting a file, so they could refuse copyrighted music or revenge porn. And anyways, torrenting is a free and so likely more appealing to pirates. We’ll see if other players try to crash into the market with a similar concept and trigger a perma pricing war. But Williams claims Bitcoin, Ethereum, and EOS can’t do this type of storage while Archive.org, The Wayback Machine, and Perma.cc are focused on academic uses for shallow web preservation.

Arweave likens itself to an Uber for storage, matching users needing to save files with those with excess storage capacity. But it acts as if there’s no middleman like Uber taking a cut. Instead the startup will sell tokens as necessary to stay funded until the network is sufficiently decentralized and runs itself.

“A lot of crypto projects are long on white papers but short on code. Arweave was the opposite” says Union Square Ventures partner Albert Wenger. His fund tried out the Permaweb by storing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s ongoing measurements of carbon dioxide — something climate change deniers might want to suppress.

The goal was always to stop misinformation. Williams concludes “We think that we’re closing what Orwell called the memory hole so people can’t change what was said, so everyone can see it that way in the future without the possibility of redaction or censorship.”

Microsoft acquires Mover to help with Microsoft 365 cloud migration

Microsoft wants to make it as easy as possible to migrate to Microsoft 365, and today the company announced it had purchased a Canadian startup called Mover to help. The companies did not reveal the acquisition price.

Microsoft 365 is the company’s bundle that includes Office 365, Microsoft Teams, security tools and workflow. The idea is to provide customers with a soup-to-nuts, cloud-based productivity package. Mover helps customers get files from another service into the Microsoft 365 cloud.

As Jeff Tepper wrote in a post on the Official Microsoft Blog announcing the acquisition, this about helping customers get to the Microsoft cloud as quickly and smoothly as possible. “Today, Mover supports migration from over a dozen cloud service providers — including Box, Dropbox, Egnyte, and Google Drive — into OneDrive and SharePoint, enabling seamless file collaboration across Microsoft 365 apps and services, including the Office apps and Microsoft Teams,” Tepper wrote.

Tepper also points out that they will be gaining the expertise of the Mover team as it moves to Microsoft and helps add to the migration tools already in place.

Tony Byrne, founder and principal analyst at Real Story Group, says that moving files from one system to another like this can be extremely challenging regardless of how you do it, and the file transfer mechanism is only part of it. “The transition to 365 from an on-prem system or competing cloud supplier is never a migration, per se. It’s a rebuild, with a completely different UX, admin model, set of services, and operational assumptions all built into the Microsoft cloud offering,” Byrne explained.

Mover is based in Calgary, Canada. It was founded in 2012 and raised $1 million, according to Crunchbase data. It counts some big clients as customers including AutoDesk, Symantec and BuzzFeed.

Render announces object storage service at TechCrunch Disrupt

It was a big day for startup Render, which participated in the TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Battlefield today. While it was at it, it also announced some upgrades to its managed cloud platform.

First of all, it announced the ability to spin up object storage in the cloud, while greatly simplifying the tasks associated with adding storage. CEO and founder Anurag Goel says that the storage option is something customers have been requesting, and as with their other services, they handle a lot of the heavy lifting for them.

“One of the things that our users want us to do next is to build out object storage. Even though they can use things like Amazon S3 and other cloud storage options, they know that Render is going to be easier for them to use. So they really want object storage, and they want everything in one place,” Goel explained.

If you want to do that today without Render, you would have to spin up a virtual machine in the cloud, attach the storage, set up backup schedules and take care of all of these other associated tasks, and what Render is doing with Render Disk, is stripping that all away and managing the process for them.

While the startup was at it, it also developed a concept called infrastructure as code. This allows developers to define their infrastructure requirements in a yaml file. When the developer sends the file to GitHub, Render can build the infrastructure for the customer on the fly based on the contents of this file.

Finally, they are offering a one-click launch to customers. This could come in handy for companies who are offering free trials or open source tools, to enable users to launch their applications with a single click from GitHub and it will load all of the required files.

Out of digital storage? Check out these underrated storage options (aka not iCloud) that are on sale.

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.
Shop around before committing to a storage provider.
Shop around before committing to a storage provider.

Image: pexels

Tired of seeing that “Storage Full” notification? iCloud, Dropbox, Box, and Google all offer free storage options but you’re going to run out inevitably and have to upgrade. And that’s where they get you. 

If you’re out of storage, you owe it to yourself to shop a bit because there are dozens of cloud storage providers, many of which offer significant space for a fraction of the price of the big guys. Check out some options below, all of which are on sale:

OpenDrive

OpenDrive gives you a simple interface for you to manage your documents, music, and photos with instant access so you can get what you need fast without slowing down your computer. It offers simple sharing and collaboration, as well as a variety of tailored solutions, so you can find what works for you.

Degoo Premium

Degoo gives you massive amounts of supremely secured backup space and a simple interface from which you can manage and share files. They offer high-speed transfers between drives and folders, all while keeping your data under 256-bit AES encryption. That’s the military-grade kind! It’ll even automatically detect file changes and automatically back itself up.

Koofr

Koofr is safe, simple, reliable, and accessible through web, mobile, and WebDav so you can always keep tabs on your most sensitive, blackmail-worthy files. It lets you connect to existing Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon Cloud, or OneDrive cloud accounts and transfer files externally without limits. It even has a duplicate finder so if you’re juggling multiple accounts.

Zoolz Cloud Backup

Zoolz offers huge amounts of cloud storage space by dividing it up between instant vault and cold backup. That means that half of your available space can be used instantly, seamlessly, adding and removing files in seconds. The other half is in cold backup and will take a longer time to retrieve. It’s sort of like having two different safes in your house, one in your bedroom, and one in the creepy attic that you only visit when necessary. Zoolz also offers multiuser plans that are ideal for small companies trying to scale on a budget. 

ThunderDrive

ThunderDrive is easy to set up and makes organizing and sharing files from any device a breeze. It works up to six times faster than Amazon, giving you quick, seamless access to your files while maintaining 256-bit AES encryption and hosting your data in Tier IV data centers for the ultimate security.

Cut your monthly iCloud cost and get lifetime storage via this cheap alternative

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TL;DR: Get an unlimited subscription to ThunderDrive cloud storage with this sale: A 500 GB plan is just $29 while a 2 TB plan is $59.


Entrusting your files to a server located in some ominous unknown location might seem counterintuitive, but it’s actually the safest way to protect your data. 

Think about it: choosing to store your files on a computer, hard drive, or phone will only make them more susceptible to accidental loss. All it takes is one clumsy moment, theft, or a software update gone wrong.

And while subscribing to name a brand cloud service like iCloud or Dropbox may seem like the easy route, you’ll only end up overpaying for measly storage that won’t even fit your cat video collection. 

You may have not heard of it, but ThunderDrive Cloud Storage will give you the same exact service for a lot less money. Lifetime subscriptions are on sale starting at just $29, so you only need to pay once for storage and never have to think about it again.

Available in 500 GB and 2 TB plans, ThunderDrive nets you access to fast and expansive storage. With its easy-to-use interface, it allows you to drag and drop files, create folders, share private links, and more straight from your device. It’s fully compatible with any web or mobile browser, so you won’t encounter problems as you switch between devices. And to make sure that your data is safe and sound, it encrypts all your info with 256-bit AES encryption for enhanced security.

A lifetime subscription to the 500 GB plan costs $29, while the 2 TB option would only set you back $59. Plus, that’s one less monthly subscription driving up your credit card bill.