Allmydata is an online virtual drive with backup, storage and sharing services.

Progress has been slower than expected, mostly because of the product choices we made early on in the design stage. To decrease costs, increase scalability and security, we chose to implement a peer to peer network as the underlying grid to backup and store users’ files on. This meant we had to build the grid prior to launching premium services. As a result the first version of Allmydata we launched required a downloadable PC client and for people to share local storage on their drive in order to get storage on the network.

That client does a lot of work – it breaks up the files in millions of little pieces, uploads them 4 times to thousands of computers on the grid and keeps the local files in sync with the grid. As a result, the early implementations of the client have been slower and more resource hungry than we would like. Things are moving in the right direction though. Allmydata beta 1.5 which was released on June 1 is faster and less resource intensive than the previous versions and has nice new features such as an icon overlay that tells you when your local files are being automatically backed up to Allmydata.

Just as interestingly now that we have thousands of customers on the network we are now in a position to launch our premium versions without requiring people to share local files. The next version of Allmydata coming in a few months will have:
• Web client
• Optional PC client with much lower memory footprint and Outlook support
• Premium versions that don’t require partaking in the grid

The space is competitive, but I have faith that if we build the easiest to use product with the lowest cost structure, we will find a way to create a nice business for ourselves.

  • What about security?
    My big gripe about online storage/backup is security and privacy.
    Ideally, I would like something that is encrypted with a key and passphrase that I only know (that is not stored anywhere but in my head, so is not retrievable if forgotten, just like if you use PGP encryption).

    This is basically because this would guarantee that no cleartext data would ever be available on any server or other computer, and even if someone got full access to everything on the network, they would not be able to make any sense of the encrypted data without the personal passphrases of individuals.

    Sorry for the long post, but I think this is something which may be in demand, at least at the higher end of the market. I would certainly pay for such a service, and I know others who would too.

  • Wille,

    Allmydata is super secure because not only are all the files encrypted but they are broken up in a thousands of little pieces – there is no central repository with anyone of your files…