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Comment Microsoft Farsite (and related topics) (Score 1) 448

What're you're talking about is not a new concept, it just turns out to be really hard to build in a useful way. The most comprehensive discussion of the problems involved can be found at the Microsoft Research project Farsite.

The short version of the problem is that the level of service you can expect from each system is incredibly variable, so it's hard to offer a meaningful QoS for the system as a whole. It's not quite as bad as the distributed-hash-table problem (a.k.a. P2P file storage), but it's still bad. (Zooko once told me that MojoNation saw an average 50% turnover in nodes in a 24 hour period.) But it's also not as easy as having all your distributed nodes dedicated to just storage, and even that's a really hard problem to solve. (I should know; my company is one of the few vendors doing it.)

Someone else suggested OpenAFS. OpenAFS is fantastic, but not for unreliable server environments. I really don't think there's a complete solution out there, but not for lack of asking.

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