Wednesday, December 13, 2006

GridNetworks, what’s my interest? Part two

Click here for the first part.

Third, GridNetworks piqued my interest with the use of word “Grid” in the company name. Grid is a powerful concept for utilizing idle resources and addressing infrastructure scalability. GridNetworks provides the extra scalability through P2P to fixed infrastructure of content delivery networks for superior user experience at the end of the last mile of Internet.

Few years ago, I researched a company for a client, Bycast and its StorageGRID product. During last bubble, Bycast was positioned as online video streaming startup. With its underlying technology, Bycast was successful in navigating turbulent times by repositioning in healthcare storage. Even though, Newell was quick to shoot down my comparison of GridNetworks with Bycast, I felt that the underlying technology of GridNetworks will find its ways in to other areas and applications too, not discounting its application in storage either.

Fourth, GridNetworks website listed Sujal Patel on its Advisory Board. Sujal is co-founder of Isilon Systems, a storage startup, soon to be public, and a veteran of RealNetworks. This piqued my interest to find out what connection Isilon or storage may have with GridNetworks.

In the end, it turned out to be nothing more than ex-RealNetwork links. Sujal is now acting more like angel investor. So, he doesn’t seem to be a good proxy anymore to find ties with Isilon or storage.

Fifth, the hints of P2P implementation in PowerGrid End User License Agreement piqued my interest as I saw a way to accomplish Distributed Storage Aggregation (DSA). And if you like me scan IEEE and ACM publications regularly, P2P way to utilize unused storage distributed across enterprise has started to become interesting.

Newell claimed about 50,000 nodes currently contributing on, average, 1GB of storage and 200kbps of bandwidth per node. His users are contributing almost 50TB of storage and 10Gbps bandwidth to deliver high quality video. When his vision of 40 million nodes comes to fruition, he may have access to 40 PB of storage without shelling out a single penny to any storage vendor.

The above reasons may explain what encouraged me to initiate contact with GridNetworks. One day, I expect to see the same technology being implemented with in the enterprise for distributed storage aggregation.
Excerpts from PowerGrid EULA:

"Segment" means a small block of encrypted Content data, typically under one megabyte.

Encrypted, managed peer-to-peer "grid" network architecture.

The Content Segments stored on your computer may be portions of files you have viewed, or may be copied to your computer by GridNetworks host systems for later sharing with other GridNetworks authorized users.

The Segments contained therein are only accessible through the GridNetworks PowerGrid application and cannot be individually viewed, altered or deleted through your computer's file management tools.

These Content Segments are periodically removed and replaced with other segments and shall never exceed the maximum capacity of the Data Store, established by you.
City view from Tokyo TV Tower. Mount Fuji is barely visible in the background.

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