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DeStor providing effective data management for Academia
Jennifer KingMar 28, 20233 min read

Decentralized storage – Cost Effective Data Management For Academia

Many academic institutions have recently found themselves stuck between a rock and hard place. On one hand, the amount of data generated at universities is increasing exponentially with no end in sight. On the other, storage costs are rising dramatically because of pricing increases from traditional cloud storage providers. Something has to give.

Enter decentralized storage, a cost effective alternative to traditional public cloud services.

The end of infinite storage

University IT departments are struggling to adapt to new cloud storage limits set by Google. The company, which had offered free cloud storage to universities, is now capping free data storage at 100 terabytes. While that number might seem high, it's insufficient for universities, which can have thousands of users storing large data sets.

"Looks like the unlimited storage that Google promised my university a couple years ago is being discontinued, and the entire institution is being limited to 100TB… I can fill that 5 times over with our data." -Bryan Jones, Retinal Neuroscientist at the University of Utah

A recent survey by Internet2 found that university IT leaders are struggling with the end of infinite storage and are searching for alternatives. 92% of university IT leaders reported being concerned about data storage limits and rising costs. 60% are actively considering migrating data from existing providers. 50% are considering placing data in archival storage on a public cloud. The survey also found that academic IT leaders are concerned about the impact of storage limits on faculty and students. 41% report that their systems are not able to accommodate increasing numbers of students, faculty and staff.

In an attempt to reduce costs, university IT leaders are considering strategies like data repatriation and migrating to cloud based archival storage.

More data, more problems

The amount of data generated is growing exponentially, creating huge pressure on the existing infrastructure of data storage. This is especially true in academia, where researchers are storing and analyzing more data than ever before. With this increased demand for storage, the costs associated with storage and the infrastructure needed to store large amounts of data are also increasing. These rising costs can create a financial burden on universities and research departments, making it difficult for them to keep up with the data storage needs of their faculty and students. Additionally, many universities are constrained by limited storage budgets and are unable to purchase the storage infrastructure necessary for their data-intensive research projects. This can lead to inadequate storage resources, leading to data loss, which can have a devastating effect on those involved.

Decentralized storage and Filecoin

Decentralized storage is emerging as a cost-effective alternative to conventional public cloud services. Decentralized storage is more cost effective than public cloud storage because it distributes the load of storing data over a network of computers, eliminating the need for large-scale, centralized data storage infrastructure. With decentralized storage, universities and other academic institutions can reduce data storage expenses, freeing up budgets to more substantially invest in furthering their academic mission.

Filecoin is the world’s largest decentralized storage network. The Filecoin network consists of thousands of independent storage providers distributed throughout the world that store data. Today, Filecoin provides cost effective enterprise-grade archival storage that’s used by leading universities and researchers.

The future of cloud storage is decentralized 

The IDC, a leading global market intelligence firm, recently conducted a Cloud Storage Survey to explore organizations’ perceptions of the drawbacks to existing public cloud storage providers; and their appetite for decentralized storage solutions.

Survey highlights:

  • Over 87% of organizations were at least somewhat concerned about public cloud provider lock-in, and more than 46% were very or extremely concerned about it.
  • 82% of enterprises indicated that cost considerations were the initial reasons to move data into the cloud
  • The value proposition of decentralized storage— lower costs with at least the same durability, availability, safety, and performance as public cloud providers today — was preferred by 89.7% of respondents

To learn more about decentralized storage, download the IDC White Paper, Making the case for Decentralized Storage, sponsored by Protocol Labs.