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Peer-to-peer backup in the cloud

December 29, 2010

I’m a user of Dropbox a great online/cloud back up system that just replicates a folder to the cloud and then you can share it with other computers.  No mess, no fuss, it just works.  At the moment I use their free 2GB service which is enough for the things I need to share.

But it got me thinking about cloud based backup and the cost to consumers (not companies).  Hard disks are cheap, most of us have excess bandwidth that isn’t being used.

A solution that I would love to see is where each person using a service has to donate 4X the amount they wish to back up to the service.
So, if I want to backup 250GB, I have to donate 1TB to the service for others to use.
Then using a peer-to-peer system my 250GB is stored in multiple locations for back up and redundancy and the 1TB I donate is used by other users of the service.

In this way for the cost of a 1TB drive (£50) and the bandwidth I have already paid for I would have the ability to backup to the ‘the cloud’ and other people would have the same option as well.

Obviously, for this to work there needs to be a critical mass of people partaking, oh yeah and somebody(bodies) who can actually code it up and make it sustainable.
To make something sustainable there is usually a need for a business model.  My initial thoughts on this are that the public peer-to-peer would be free, but the commercial company would host a number of data centres that are used for the commercial clients.  Giving individuals and corporate clients who wish to pay complete dependability and support an option as well.  If the 2 options are integrated then switching from free to paid could be seamless reducing some potential friction in the business model.

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One comment

  1. There are some companies attempting to do this:
    Wuala
    Aerofs
    Tudzu

    Particularly the first one is a market based system.



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