What’s So Hard About Building Cloud Storage Software?

It’s been easy to track the death of the file system because the signs are everywhere. Comprehensive solutions are harder to come by, and Bitcasa Founder Tony Gauda explains why more developers haven’t tried to build one.

What’s So Hard About Building Cloud Storage Software?

Very few companies are attempting to reconcile the fragmented ecosystem of local and cloud storage, why? We asked one such company: Bitcasa, which offers infinite (that’s on beyond a Googleplex) cloud storage for $99/year. Bitcasa claims that the efficiency gains from their patented deduplication algorithm is the key to their profitability at this price/performance point. Data deduplication is a relatively recent technique developed to prevent duplicate file storage and transmission. The hard part, says Bitcasa founder and CEO Tony Gauda, is all the cross-platform testing, which makes solving this problem a real bear. (And you thought cross-browser testing was a pain.)

If you’re doing Web development, you know that certain Web browsers behave consistently [one way or another.] For example, IE this way, Chrome that way, etc. But it’s not the same when talking about operating systems, an environment that has multiple variables—for example, someone can be using Mac OS in Chinese with Google local installed. There are also many different hardware [specifications] that need adapting to, and some have faster processes than others—it [depends on] the complexity of the environment. Making it work is all about testing, testing, testing. We test on seven platforms, let [tests] run for days with multiple configurations. Changes can’t go instantly. Also, a lot of people don’t upgrade! So as user base increases there are more variables, but we are getting much better at understanding what these variables are to ensure everything works consistently on every platform.

Tony Gauda is Bitcasa’s CEO and founder, and the product’s patent holder. As told to FastCo.Labs reporter Akshay Arabolu.

Need some background? Read the larger discussion that spawned this article: The Death Of The File System: What You Need To Know

[Image: Flickr user Mike Lewinski]

About the author

I've written about innovation, design, and technology for Fast Company since 2007. I was the co-founding editor of FastCoLabs.



More Stories