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What if Cloud-Backup-Storage was Free?

Not Backup-as-a-Service, but just cloud-storage that could be used to supplement a backup. Sure, there are a lot of STaaS (storage-as-a-service) folks that will give you a small amount of capacity to try their platform, knowing full well that you are going to want more and be willing to pay for it.

But there used to be a company that would give you as much storage in the cloud as you wanted – Symform. Symform was my 2011 “Coolest Disruptive Technology that most folks hadn’t heard of yet” award winner.

Essentially, Symform would make a copy of some subset of your data, encrypt it, shatter it into 64 chunks, add 32 parity chunks, and then scatter those pieces into the Internet – specifically, onto 96 remote/nameless locations. As long as any 64 of the 96 locations were accessible, you data was accessible in the cloud. The catch: you needed to offer some of your local storage to store 1/96th of other folks’ data. So, you could quite literally go purchase a 3TB USB hard drive from a local retailer, throw it in/on your server, and then get 3TB of cloud-based storage – I know, because I did it with my own environment. Sure, if you needed more capacity than you wanted to offer, you could pay for it – but the idea that I could buy cheap, slow local storage and gain durable, tertiary cloud-based storage was really interesting.

The reason that I bring up Symform is because they were just acquired by Quantum, who also offers deduplicated disk (DXi appliances, both virtual and physical), tape solutions and another cloud offering (Q-Cloud). We’ll see if the mechanics and service model changes, now that they are part of a broader portfolio of data protection offerings from a commercial vendor, but the idea that such a different and potentially exciting technology will now be available to a much broader set of customers and service providers will be interesting to watch. Congrats to Quantum.

As always, thanks for reading.

[Originally posted on ESG’s Technical Optimist.com]

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