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Storj app builds QNAP NAS into its Uber-like cloud storage network

QNAP NAS users can use the Storj app to configure spare capacity as part of the Tardigrade S3 cloud, which offers storage at half the cost of the main providers

Decentralised storage provider Storj Labs has launched an app for QNAP users to be able to quickly and easily turn their local NAS storage into part of Storj’s Tardigrade cloud in return for crypto-currency.

Tardigrade – which was launched in March – is an S3 object storage cloud service that is comprised of spare capacity on other users’ drives on the Storj Network.

The Storj Network allows users to generate revenue from unused storage capacity on their local storage. That can be from any local storage, but the addition of a QNAP app allows users of that brand to quickly configure their capacity as part of the Tardigrade cloud.

Those that sign up to Storj become its Storage Node Operators. They provide access to their storage capacity and are paid on a regular basis in the company’s ERC-20 utility tokens.

Once their node is connected to the Storj Network, it can be sent encrypted pieces of data. All data uploaded to the Storj Network is distributed as 80 shards with only 30 required to rebuild the file. These are spread across the network on different Storage Nodes which are guaranteed to have a unique power supply and be in a different geographical location.

Storage Node Operators are compensated for the static capacity they provide on the network as well as any egress bandwidth that is used when data owners download their file pieces from their node.

To become a Storj Storage Node Operator, users need a minimum of 500GB of available disk capacity, 2TB of bandwidth per month (with up and downstream requirements of 5Mbps and 25Mbps per month) as well as maximum downtime of five hours a month.

Tardigrade is Storj’s “enterprise, production-ready” S3 object storage network, which comes with guaranteed service-level agreements (SLAs).

Use cases it suggests the network is suitable for include secondary and unstructured workloads such as media files, large files, edge data such as the internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence/machine learning data sets, plus archival data. Clearly, at present, a distributed cloud of storage is not going to be suited to the most latency-sensitive applications.

Developers can build Tardigrade access into applications, but that must be via application programming interface (API) keys based on Google’s Macaroons, which are a relation of the cookie but for authorisation in de-centralised use cases.

Capacity on Storj is charged in terabyte months, with a rate of $10 per TB. Downloads are charged at $45 per TB. Storj’s aim is to provide capacity at 50% of the cost of the main cloud providers.

Since its April 2019 alpha launch, Tardigrade claims to have never lost any of the two million stored on its network and claims six nines (99.9999%) availability and is targeting nine nines for production releases. It claims download speeds are more consistent than those obtainable from the big cloud providers due to its distributed nature.

The company also announced early access to the Tardigrade S3 Gateway for QNAP, which allows NAS owners to backup data on their hardware to Tardigrade through QNAP's Hybrid Backup Sync (HBS 3) tool.

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