The InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) is a decentralized distributed file system that enables content-addressed storage. IPFS defines itself as “a peer-to-peer hypermedia protocol designed to preserve and grow humanity’s knowledge by making the web upgradeable, resilient, and more open.”
The IPFS protocol stands in direct contrast to today’s widely used HTTP system. HTTP is a centralized, location-addressed protocol. In HTTP, users retrieve resources (such as HTML documents) based solely on their location on centralized servers. This system features several disadvantages.
When resources live on a single device, that device is vulnerable to many threats. A content-addressed distributed file system like IPFS has several advantages over HTTP.
It’s possible to achieve these advantages in your IT environment, but it’s crucial to build the infrastructure to support IPFS first. Here are five major advantages of IPFS.
The current location-based HTTP system is subject to several disadvantages. All resources in HTTP are housed on a centralized single server. That server is always vulnerable to cybersecurity threats, such as DDoS attacks. It is also subject to failure or poor performance. And that server can be inactivated or censored based on what entity manages it, thereby eliminating the only source of the data housed on it.
IPFS is a decentralized system that uses content-addressed storage. In this protocol, each piece of data is assigned a unique content identifier (CID). All content-addressed data in IPFS can be found and retrieved based on this unique CID.
IPFS content is housed in several locations in a shared, peer-to-peer network using a distributed hash table (DHT). This decentralized protocol means there is no one point of failure in a single server. And no one entity can censor or eliminate the data.
Not only is each resource in IPFS assigned a unique CID, but these CID files are immutable and cannot be altered by any third-party entity. IPFS also uses transport-encryption to keep data secure when being sent from one IPFS node to another.
This creates huge security advantages over HTTP. The immutable nature of resources in IPFS greatly reduces many cybersecurity threats.
Storing and distributing data with IPFS saves bandwidth by retrieving data from multiple peers at once. A user requests content based on its unique CID, IPFS retrieves that data based on the CID from multiple nodes at once, and it is then delivered to the user in the quickest, most efficient way possible.
Content is uncoupled from distant servers and stored closer to the users. This content retrieval method has been shown to save up to 60% bandwidth for video. IPFS can efficiently distribute high volumes of data quickly and without duplication.
The CID created with IPFS provides a digital fingerprint that can ensure authenticity and uniqueness. This makes deduplication simpler by creating a single instance of data with an immutable CID. And because there is only one copy of each resource, authentication is also much simpler.
Since there’s no duplication, IPFS minimizes the storage space consumed by data backups and archives. This creates a huge advantage for any organization archiving their data.
IPFS provides much more control to content creators. Creators can distribute their work themselves without being dependent on a content distributor entity.
Creators also don’t have to spend money on servers to control their content. With IPFS, anyone can make their content available in the network, and anyone in the world can receive that content securely.
Building your hardware infrastructure to maximize IPFS is a crucial step that requires several special considerations. IPFS deployments usually require more storage speed and density. It’s important to balance your investment in CPU and GPU compute, memory, networking bandwidth, and storage devices.
A cluster designed for IPFS requires high core count processors and a minimum of 32GB of memory. The storage system should use a combination of NVMe, SSD, and HDD storage devices. HDD storage can usually provide adequate read/write speeds to provide an efficient storage layer for archival or ‘cold’ storage because IPFS requests data across a network instead of relying on a single device. Taking these factors into consideration will allow for efficient IPFS deployments, and Silicon Mechanics has a custom-designed cluster that is ideal for IPFS.
The Silicon Mechanics Oberon Decentralized Data Storage Cluster is the result of hours of engineering, testing, and optimization. The Oberon cluster can save you time and focus because we customized its design to meet your specific IPFS workload needs.
The Oberon cluster is the ideal backbone for your blockchain development projects, media and content delivery workloads, and secure general-purpose business computing. Using a distributed file system like IPFS can be made much simpler and more efficient with the Oberon Decentralized Data Storage Cluster.
Silicon Mechanics, Inc. is one of the world’s largest private providers of high-performance computing (HPC), artificial intelligence (AI), and enterprise storage solutions. Since 2001, Silicon Mechanics’ clients have relied on its custom-tailored open-source systems and professional services expertise to overcome the world’s most complex computing challenges. With thousands of clients across the aerospace and defense, education/research, financial services, government, life sciences/healthcare, and oil and gas sectors, Silicon Mechanics solutions always come with “Expert Included” SM.
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