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Nix Flake
Theme fund: NGI0 Discovery
Start: 2019-04
End: 2022-10
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Decentralised solutions
Data and AI


Secure and reliable decentralized storage platform

With the amount of downloadable resources such as content and software updates available over the Internet increasing year over year, it turns out not all content has someone willing to serve all of it up eternally for free for everyone. And in other cases, the resources concerned are not meant to be public, but do need to be available in a controlled environment. In such situations users and other stakeholders themselves need to provide the necessary capacity and infrastructure in another, collective way.

This of course creates new challenges. Unlike a website you can follow a link to or find through a standard search engine and which you typically only have to vet once for security and trustworthiness, the distributed nature of such a system makes it difficult for users to find the relevant information in a fast and trustworthy manner. One of the essential challenges of information management and retrieval in such a system is the location of data items in a way that the communication complexity remains scalable and a high reliability can be achieved even in case of adversaries. More specifically, if a provider has a particular data item to offer, where shall the information be stored such that a requester can easily find it? Moreover, if a user is interested in a particular information, how does he discover it and how can he quickly find the actual location of the corresponding data item?

The project aims to develop a secure and reliable decentralized storage platform enabling fast and scalable content search and lookup going beyond existing approaches. The goal is to leverage the path-awareness features of the SCION Internet architecture to use network resources efficiently in order to achieve a low search and lookup delay while increasing the overall throughput. The challenge is to select suitable paths considering those performance requirements, and potentially combining them into a multi-path connection. To this end, we aim to design and implement optimal path selection and data placement strategies for a decentralized storage system.

Why does this actually matter to end users?

It has been several decades since the first internet connection was made and we still have not solved the issue of free, safe and controlled file sharing. Common channels like email set strict file size limits and leave possibly sensitive data strewn about inboxes and servers. File hosting and sharing services keep users in the dark about what happens to their uploads and do not keep files up for long. Torrent environments are fraught with illegally uploaded or malicious content that may be harmful for users, who have no tools to verify or authenticate anything or anyone.

To solve this issue, users should be able to transparently host and share files, control access to uploaded content and know precisely where there files are online. The alternative internet architecture SCION, short for (Scalability, Control, and Isolation on Next-Generation Networks), offers users (as well as internet service providers or ISPs) the overview and control this requires. SCION can ensure path-aware communication where only senders, receivers and ISPs are allowed to set the rules for how internet traffic should be routed across networks and servers.

The goal of this project is to use this transparency of internet traffic for hosts and users through SCION for decentralized data storage and retrieval. Combining the level of control, privacy protection and overview of path awareness and construction with hosting and sharing files that are decentralized and not held or maintained by a single party gives the user full agency over their data and access to it.

Run by OVGU Magdeburg

Logo NLnet: abstract logo of four people seen from above Logo NGI Zero: letterlogo shaped like a tag

This project was funded through the NGI0 Discovery Fund, a fund established by NLnet with financial support from the European Commission's Next Generation Internet programme, under the aegis of DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology under grant agreement No 825322.