Decentralized storage systems maintain data files across geographically distributed nodes connected via peer-to-peer (P2P) networks in contrast to traditional centralized storage servers.
Data files can be safeguarded against errors counterparty risks and single-point failures with blockchain-based decentralized storage networks.
A Brief Introduction of What Is Decentralized Storage?
In an age where personal data is closely intertwined with online experiences British mathematician Clive Humby coined the phrase, “data is the new oil” in 2006.
The personal information that makes up our digital identity nowadays is frequently kept in a centralized location. While being more accessible centralized storage systems may be more susceptible to data loss privacy violations and cyber-attacks since users don’t fully control what information they want to share and how they want to share it.
‘Blockchain technology has played a major role in the advent of Web3 which has changed how we interact with one another online.‘
A decentralized Internet allows users to control more of their data and online experiences by running applications powered by blockchain without the need for trusted third parties. Additionally, users can access and store their data in a distributed manner instead of a single centralized server with the advent of decentralized storage.
Centralized Versus Decentralized Storage
This storage method involves a provider managing and keeping data on a single server or group of servers usually in the same location.
Typically, cloud storage is a centralized solution where data is kept on servers maintained by a single organization, such as Amazon, Google, and Dropbox.
In centralized data storage, data is usually encrypted with 128-bit SSL technology when it is in transit from your computer to the server, and it can also be encrypted with 256-bit encryption once it is on the server.
Notwithstanding all security precautions, the encryption keys are kept on the storage platform. This raises potential issues with accessibility, transparency, and control with centralized data storage. Because everything is stored in one place, hackers can more easily target a single point of failure to gain access to a large amount of data.
However, decentralized systems store data across a network of computers rather than in a single location. As a result, large amounts of data can be stored without relying on a central server or provider reducing the chances of censorship and privacy intrusion.
How Does Decentralized Storage Work?
Data is distributed among several computers or nodes linked to a P2P network such as Bit Torrent or IPFS, in decentralized storage.
A decentralized storage system divides data into manageable portions and distributes them to other network nodes for archival purposes. The network will reassemble sharded components from the individual nodes that store your data file for you if you need to retrieve it.
As a result of a cryptographic hash mechanism that automatically encrypts all data stored on a network, nodes in a decentralized storage system cannot view or alter files. In order to prevent unauthorized entities from gaining access to users’ data, users must use their private keys.
Many Benefits & Advantages of Decentralized Storage over Centralized Storage
These are a few of the advantages decentralized storage networks have over traditional centralized storage servers.
1. Improved Security And Privacy
Because all the data in traditional centralized storage networks is stored in one place, they are more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Rather than storing data on a single server decentralized storage systems offer a higher level of security because their data is spread across multiple nodes.
Hackers are unable to access decentralized storage networks and steal data as a result. Furthermore, anonymity is increased because users do not need to divulge personal information to store data in a decentralized system.
2. There Is No Single Point Of Failure
It is easier to manage and access centralized data storage networks, but they can also be more susceptible to transmission errors that may result in data loss. The decentralized storage network has multiple connected nodes, increasing fault tolerance and redundancy so that even if one node fails users may still access data from other nodes on the network.
3. Download Speeds That Are Faster
Due to the global spread of nodes storing the data files, decentralized storage can potentially reduce bandwidth usage compared to centralized storage.
4. Cost Effective
There is more storage available on a decentralized system than on a centralized one, which usually results in lower costs for smaller users who cannot take advantage of economies of scale.
5. The Integrity Of Data Is Enhanced
The integrity of data refers to its ability to maintain its integrity over the course of its lifetime. The integrity of data is difficult to maintain with centralized storage systems because data becomes unavailable if a server is damaged or a webpage is moved. Through hashing, data remains intact and accessible indefinitely with decentralized storage.
What Are the Limitations of Decentralized Storage?
Decentralized storage systems can have some advantages over centralized systems, but they may also have some limitations that contradict the advantages above. Decentralized storage systems, for example, rely on a network of nodes to store and retrieve data so access times can be slower than those of centralized storage systems.
Similar to centralized systems decentralized storage may be safer from the perspective of data ownership, but it is still subject to security threats and other dangers. Moreover, decentralized storage systems are dependent on the network infrastructure to function correctly. Malicious nodes can compromise data security on the network. In the event of a network outage data stored on the network may not be available.
In addition, decentralized storage is not standardized. Different protocols may use different encryption methods and authentication mechanisms so interoperability is not guaranteed. In addition, decentralized storage systems still face unresolved security risks associated with encryption and key management.
Final Closing Thoughts
The Web3 revolution could benefit from decentralized storage, although it is still an emerging technology that has yet to gain mass adoption. Decentralized platforms like Bit Torrent might become popular sooner than expected as users seek a more affordable, efficient, and secure data storage mechanism.
The emergence of data breaches, higher storage costs, and censorship has made decentralized storage an attractive option for many. While it does address some of the issues faced by its centralized counterpart, there are still some limitations. Despite this centralized storage continues to hold a significant market share and remains pragmatic for those seeking a viable solution.