Cloud computing is a recent phenomena that has become so critical to our everyday lives it’s here to stay. Several facets of cloud computing could be witnessed in the past decade like fast web connections and advances in common technology. Internet speeds of 150 Mbps is relatively common in urban and suburban cities, while 30 Mbps download speeds combined with 6 Mbps upload speeds are the new default standard in flagship mobile devices – enabling us to work with ease in the cloud. Combining high speeds with lower storage drive limits and a shift to remote work lifestyles, cloud computing is the obvious choice. This gives the benefit of having everything on a cloud server, ranging from your files, photos, applications, business databases, and shared computing all at your fingertips.
Hiding behind the clouds in this transition however is the torrential downpour of vulnerabilities that result from a culture of cloud computing. Keeping most or all of our storage activity on the cloud creates a massive security issue where we can lose all of our data. If you need to use the internet to access your data, then it is always susceptible to hacking. In addition, any private or confidential data could be exposed online, including sensitive information relating to identity.
As a countermeasure, users and enthusiasts of blockchain technology have proposed something called decentralized cloud computing (DCC) that could prevent all of these vulnerabilities and much more.
The Benefits of Decentralized Cloud Computing
It has become cliche to look at a standard solution for the past 20 years and try to “decentralize” it on the blockchain. Although this has been overused and leveraged for the purpose of advertising the blockchain world, there is a valuable purpose for creating a decentralized solution to cloud computing. Transforming cloud computing technology to a decentralized method would leverage the power of over-the-net operations while giving zero downsides, except for the idea that “nobody likes change”.
- Increased Security: Decentralized cloud computing requires the blockchain in order to operate which is heavily encrypted by default. In addition, all participants involved in the network all have part of the ledger technology within the network which makes things extremely distributed. This has always been a fascinating feature with built-in security to prevent inside manipulation and outside hacking. As an extra benefit on top of this, the more participants to the network, the higher this distribution becomes.
- Low Cost: Standard cloud computing can have a considerable cost although this is getting cheaper as technology advances. However, decentralized cloud computing as with most blockchain equivalents can operate on less cost than standard computing as there is no need to purchase cloud storage space, advanced network systems and API software.
- Energy Efficiency: There are considerations that decentralized cloud computing and blockchain technology in general can be classified as green energy, despite the fear mongering that Bitcoin and crypto assets use insane amounts of electricity. The truth is not only would this consume less energy than its “legacy” counterpart, but the blockchain nature of this technology could promote clean energy through the use of heating homes as a result of crypto mining.
- Network Encryption: Due to the cryptographic nature of the blockchain, decentralized cloud computing typically has SHA 256 standard encryption or higher, which is by default. Out of the box, this encryption level is higher and more secure than many services that come at a heftier price.
- Business Scaling Solutions: Decentralized cloud computing also allows business to operate more efficiently and at a higher scale, giving opportunity to work across the world without the need for local data centers, trusting in companies from another country, or risking tax liabilities by hosting an offshore building or account.
- Scalability for Applications: Opportunities are also given to those that wish to host applications, allowing a distributed hosting platform for the users of those applications. Due to the encryption level built into blockchain networks, data used for these applications would remain safe.
- Minimal Required Trust: Due to the distributed nature of this style of computing, there is a near-zero application of trust to use the network. There would be no need to trust data centers, managers, or network providers to operate.
- Minimal Vulnerability: Since there is a minimal trust factor, higher encryption, and distributed technology built-in, this creates one of the highest methods of security and low vulnerability. It would be extremely difficult for hackers to obtain any information in order to disrupt the network because of the distributed nature of the technology.
- Zero Downtime: Because everything is distributed in decentralized cloud computing, part of the network could go down without seeing any downtime for the network as a whole, much like how cryptocurrencies that have nodes can lose a node within the network but still operate.
- Automatic Recovery System: As with using anything that requires storage, it can be difficult or tedious to use backups and making sure you have proper recovery systems in place to prevent catastrophic loss of data. With decentralized cloud computing, everyone has a copy of the data you need which is encrypted to everyone and only you can see and search for. This recovery system can also be instantaneous and prevent any extra costs needed to secure a normal backup.
- Potential Incentives: Many decentralized cloud options allow for incentives if you plan to be a host for the decentralized network which allows users to earn incentives for participating. This is in stark contrast to paying for a normal cloud service.
Examples of Decentralized Cloud Computing
The benefits of decentralizing the cloud computing space is abundant, and from a long term perspective it seems like it’s the right play to make. Many projects also believe that this is the future outlook for business and individuals. Here is a look at some projects currently working at the forefront of decentralized cloud computing – What they are working on now and what they can offer to the future of computing.
- Cudos: The CUDOS Network is a multiple chain oracle platform being designed for all the benefits of decentralized computing. They are building the network as an oracle, unlike many of the other chains. Cudo understands that oracles, data points that connect the real world to the blockchain world, are important because the real world is what matters in order for data collection and processing to be protected. CUDOS will also allow individuals and organizations to be validators on their network, along with staking under a Proof of Stake consensus mechanism. Delegated staking in CUDOS enables users to stake enough tokens to create a node, which has priority participation in the network. This difference between staking and delegated staking will help separate those who wish to be heavily involved vs those that just wish to use the network.
- Ankr: A comprehensive Web3 integration platform, Ankr offers connectivity to built-in products and services for decentralized computing, hosting support for over 40 different blockchains including Ethereum, Polkadot, and Binance Smart Chain. They can allow businesses and enterprises to connect through an API and allows users to stake nodes to gain rewards keeping the network more distributed.
- Aleph.im: A blockchain agnostic platform for Web3 and decentralized cloud computing, Aleph.im is a relatively new player in the space with support for six chains including Polkadot and Avalanche. Users are able to interact with their live network, dApp and storage solutions, SDK, and nodes.
- iExec RLC: A DDC dedicated platform, iExec runs on the Ethereum network and gives a complete marketplace solution for cloud computing. They operate off of a side chain infrastructure using a Proof of Contribution model.
- Elrond: A sharded smart contract execution platform for Proof of Stake consensus, Elrond is a decentralized computing chain that is designed to scale and to be adaptive to increasing popularity, currently offering up to 15,000 transactions per second. Built on the Rust programming language, Elrond focuses on the chain state, network flow, and transaction efficiency.
Cross chain solutions like the CUDOS Network have a massive advantage in establishing the integrity and stability for distributed cloud computing. They provide distinct capabilities to create computational capacity that is low cost, low latency, and a high consideration of personalization. CUDOS also allows real world activity to connect directly to the blockchain as an oracle. With the benefits of decentralization being plenty, with little to no downside, converting to a DCC method will likely be a matter of not ‘if’ but when business will fully adapt to and utilize this model.