Thursday, 12 December 2019

Is Blockchain the Future of Data Management?

Businesses now collect more data than they ever did in the past. In fact, 2.5 quintillion bytes are created every day.

With emerging technologies like the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, and on-demand apps becoming more prevalent, the current data storage systems are starting to show their age. They can no longer keep up with the demands of modern businesses, and as a result, businesses will have to develop new data storage solutions.

Data Storage Needs are Changing

As businesses collect an ever-increasing amount of data, they need to look for new ways to securely store all of this information. Presently, many businesses are turning to third-party services for cloud-based storage solutions. While cloud storage does serve the immediate need of finding a place to store all of this data, it comes with a number of issues that make it less than ideal in the long-term.

To start, you have the obvious security concerns that come with cloud computing. There have already been a number of incidents involving data being stolen from cloud systems. Further, there are issues associated with data integrity. If the data can be accessed in a centralized location, there is always the risk that it could be tampered with in some way.

Aside from the security concerns, you have to consider performance issues. Scaling up with a cloud system can be very expensive. Additionally, there are performance issues concerning the ability of these systems to deliver large volumes of data quickly.

As the data storage needs of businesses continue to increase, it is imperative that new systems are developed to overcome some of these issues. For some experts, the answer to the many of these problems can be attained by applying blockchain technology to the data storage needs of the modern business.

A Distributed Data Storage Solution

Instead of a third-party service that offers cloud storage, a blockchain solution would efficiently distribute copies of the data to many different nodes in a network. This ensures the integrity and security of the data because it would be incredibly difficult to compromise a distributed system. With several copies of the data synced up on different nodes in the network, an outside actor would need to gain control of the majority of the nodes in order to tamper with any information.

A storage solution that is supported by blockchain technology could operate almost like a P2P marketplace. In essence, users could come together to buy and sell storage space in a way that is similar to some of the on-demands apps that you see for popular products and services. One group could make money selling storage and the other could find and access the storage they need, when they need it.

The system could then guarantee privacy by using sharding. Instead of keeping entire files on a node in the network, the files would be broken into several smaller fragments. With just a single fragment on any one node, the data would be unreadable to any person that tried to access it without the other parts. When the owner of the data wants to retrieve the file, the different fragments will be brought together from the different nodes, and the file will be reassembled on their device.

A system like this could also use swarming as a way to meet the performance demands that will be expected by modern businesses. With swarming, the network would build clusters of related nodes based on location. The nodes in a cluster could then retrieve data from those closest to them or even download the same shard in parallel from several nodes. This would guarantee a fast, reliable network at all times.

Businesses need storage solutions that can do more than just store large volumes of data. These systems need to be reliable and accessible at any time. With blockchain technology, it could be possible to reach these goals while also making great strides toward improving the security and integrity of data storage solutions.

Catherine Metcalf

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