Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Cool storage at CES 2018

Storage is the hardest problem in computer systems because it is the only part that is persistent. Without storage, your computer could be anyone's computer. Here's the cool storage I saw at CES 2018.


Consumer storage is being revolutionized by cloud storage, and CES reflected that fact. But blockchain also made an appearance, much to my surprise.

Here's the rundown:

FILEGEAR

A small, $299, router-sized box with 4 USB ports and an Ethernet port to connect to a router, Filegear promises to connect to all your local drives and cloud storage, and then automagically organize all the files so they all appear in one place.

This has a lot of potential - I've got three cloud storage providers and way more than 4 USB drives - so I've asked for a review copy. Stay tuned.

MONUMENT

Monument is similar to Filegear, but optimized for photos (it has an SD card slot for ingest and HDMI for display). Also like Filegear, Monument promises to organize your photos, using AI. It will also back up your content to a remote Monument if you buy two.

One big plus for Monument: while it does less than Filegear, it is also almost half the price, $169. I've also asked them for a review copy so we can all learn more about it.

SKEEP

Skeep is an iOS and Android app that is designed to put you back in control of your social network data. Manage which apps - including Facebook and Twitter - access your data. Manage permissions. Unsubscribe from unwanted newsletters.

I'm not on Facebook, but I like what the Skeep team is attempting. My only question for them, which I've asked, is how will they make money? I hope they figure it out. In the meantime I'm going to try their app and will report back.

PIKCIO

Pikcio is aimed at enterprises like banks, insurers, and healthcare providers. It uses blockchain to allow customers to transfer validated data, without forcing re-authentication and re-verification.

Enterprises will buy the technology, but it should benefit consumers by reducing the friction of highly personal data while keeping it secure. My major question is how well the blockchain infrastructure will scale.

QNAP

QNAP is a long time player in prosumer storage, but they're jumping on the the AI bandwagon with QuAI, an AI developer package. It is intended to allow data scientists and developers to build, train, optimize, and deploy machine learning apps directly on QNAP's NAS storage.

Artificially intelligent storage? It's about time! And speaking of time, QNAP was a little murky on when QuAI will be released.

THE STORAGE BITS TAKE

Since the Universe hates your data, figuring out how to preserve it is a constant battle. The cloud can help, but the surest strategy is multiple copies in different places on different media, including the 1,000 year DVD.

But with your data spread out, how do you access it? That's the question Filegear and Monument are attempting to answer, and I hope they succeed.

But not only does the universe hate your data, there's an entire planet of hackers trying to steal it for commercial or nefarious purposes. Entropy is like a constant wind in your face, while hacking is a gusty storm of different threats.

I'm pleased to see young companies taking on these challenges. We need all the help we can get.




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