What to Expect in Production

Our production release is right around the corner and this is fantastic news for developers on the waitlist and our community of Storage Node Operators. I’m going to share a little bit about what you, our dedicated and patient community members, can expect once we hit production in January 2020.

Storage Node Operators

First of all, let me take this opportunity to thank the early adopters and long-time supporters who run the Storage Nodes that make our network possible. With over 4,000 Storage Nodes now active, we’re really happy with the progress and growth of the network.

We get a lot of consistent feedback and fairly regular questions on some common topics, so we’re sharing that information in this format to help our community of Storage Node Operators.

Bring on the Customers!

Throughout the Beta releases, we’ve pushed a substantial amount of test data while we’re moving through the developer waitlist. We already have live customers who will start paying for data starting in January. Watch for more news on who these early adopters are. We’ll be sharing case studies as we work with some of our customers on how they’re using the Tardigrade platform and why they chose to use it. We expect to see rapid growth as we unleash the waitlist.

Performance and Load Testing

While we’re onboarding new customers, we expect the storage and bandwidth utilization to grow rapidly throughout the course of the year, which means we’ll continue to conduct performance and load testing on the network. We will also continue to monitor the growth of the network to help ensure incentives align with Storage Node Operator expectations.

We’ll be making some changes to how we do performance and load testing so that a broader cross section of the network is tested. One of the key benefits for Node Operators will be that storage and bandwidth utilization will be more evenly distributed across the network. Storj Labs will continue to pay Storage Node Operators for the test data stored and the bandwidth utilized for egress, audit, and data repair.

New Platform Support for Storage Nodes

As mentioned in the last Town Hall, Storj Labs has been working with developers from the community to provide support for a number of new platforms for Storage Nodes. Native support for running a Node on Qnap, Synology, and Western Digital NAS devices will be released soon. We’ll also be providing support for FreeNAS as well as support for FreeBSD. This is in addition to our existing support for Windows, Mac, and Linux based systems. We’ll also be releasing documentation and videos with each of these integrations.

Since the early days of the network, we’ve been encouraging Storage Node Operators to use existing hardware as opposed to investing in new hardware for Storage Nodes. NAS hardware is particularly well suited for Storage Nodes due to the uptime and typical existing network configuration. With these upcoming releases, NAS operators will be able to easily add their unused NAS capacity to the network.

While the initial releases for NAS hardware will be for Storage Node operation, we’ll also be releasing support for backing up NAS hardware to Tardigrade storage.
With the production release of the Tardigrade platform, we’ll be closely monitoring the success of the platform for both app developers and Storage Node Operators. We’ll be watching all aspects of the network—software, price and cost economics, adoption, and churn—and trying different strategies to ensure the overall health and success of the network.

Terms and Conditions

We’ve learned a lot from operating both the second and the current generation of our network heading to production in January. We’ve made some changes to our Storage Sharing Terms, as well as the Terms of Use. We’ll be announcing those changes prior to the production launch.

Support Process

We continue to optimize our support process, but we’ve been heavily focused lately on improving documentation and the support available through our forum. When you’re getting started with operating your node, remember to sign up for the forum. Our amazing community and community leaders will help you get your Storage Node up and running. Of course if something is really broken, you can also use our support portal to let us know.

We don’t have updates just for Storage Node Operators. There is some really good news for developers, too!


Waitlist Update

For those of you who have joined the waitlist and have very patiently waited for your account to be activated, we’ve got good news! We’ve stepped up the number of invitations being sent out to the waitlist members to activate their developer accounts. The waitlist has grown a lot while we’ve been working on the network, but we’re now sending a couple thousand invites out each week. We’ll be through the entire waitlist before the official production release. We really appreciate your interest and patience, but the wait is almost over.

Referral Program

Another exciting feature that will launch with the production release is our developer referral program. Developers with active accounts will be able to earn credits for storage and bandwidth by referring other developers to the platform. We expect this will be a great way to get the word out about decentralized cloud storage and reward the developers who spread the news. We’ll be sharing more information as we get closer to launch.

Increasing Data Capacity

Every Beta account that’s activated from the waitlist comes with 25 GB of storage and bandwidth per month for free. Once we go into production, we’ll be providing a 1 TB credit for 30 days worth of both storage and bandwidth to the first 10,000 developer accounts. Paid developer accounts will have initial capacity limits applied to accounts, but if you need more capacity, it will be easy to request more. Thanks to our Storage Node Operators, we have a huge amount of storage and bandwidth available on the network, and that capacity will grow as demand grows!

Adding More Projects

Initially, users may request additional projects but ultimately, project creation will be entirely self-service. Every developer account comes with one default project. Projects provide the framework for both access management and discreet billing for bandwidth and storage. Projects are also used for capacity management.

Documentation Update Coming Soon

And speaking of documentation, we’ve got some significant improvements coming to our online product documentation for developers and solution architects on all aspects of the product. We’re especially excited about the documentation on the access management capabilities as well as some foundational content on use cases and implementation patterns.

Join the Forum 

If you’re new to decentralized cloud object storage and seeking help getting started, the best place to get started is our forum. The forum offers access to experienced developers from the community and a direct line to the Storj Labs engineering team. You’ll find a welcoming community of experts and novices alike, along with a wealth of curated content, all hosted by our helpful community leads. Make sure to check it out.

Update on Tooling

In addition to Storj Labs’ CLI, S3 Compatible Gateway, Go Library, Android bindings, and C compatible library, we’ve released versions of a number of great tools that have been developed by the community, including software bindings for .NET/Xamarin, Node.js, Swift, and Python. We’re getting ready for the next release of all of our bindings with support for the access management and file sharing capabilities. Watch the documentation for these new features coming soon!

Connector Program (OSPP/TPP)

In addition to tools and software bindings, we continue to work with our partners to develop Connectors for our open source and technology partners. Connectors allow the Tardigrade platform to know which partner application is storing data or using bandwidth on the network, which allows us to share a meaningful amount of our revenue with our partners. Sound like something you want to learn more about? We sure hope so! To find out more, check out our partnership page and watch for the release of the documentation on the connector framework.

Payment Method Requirement Coming Soon

With the launch of the production service, we’re requiring developer accounts to add a payment method. Developers have a choice of paying either by credit card or with STORJ tokens. Of course we’ll be rewarding our customers who choose to pay in STORJ token with a bonus. No matter how you choose to pay, we’re still offering distributed and decentralized cloud storage with comparable durability, availability, and performance to Amazon S3, with client-side encryption and distributed multi-zone high availability by default, all at half the published price of major cloud providers.

New Terms of Use and Terms of Service

With the transition from Beta 2 to the production release, we’ll be updating our Terms of Service, Terms of Use, and several other policies. We’re making sure to provide not only the quality of service consumers of cloud storage services have come to expect, but also best-in-class SLA and clear policies for how we manage data on the network, as well as how we expect developers to use the network. Watch for news on these updates coming soon.

Support Process

Just as with the support process for Storage Node Operators, we continue to optimize our support process for developers as well. We’ve also been heavily focused lately on improving documentation for developers and the support available through our forum. When you’re developing apps that store data on the Tardigrade platform, remember to sign up for the forum. Our amazing community and community leaders will help you get your app running. Of course if something is really broken, you can also use our support portal to let us know.

Stay in the Loop

We work hard to communicate with the community, but not everyone has the time to watch every commit in GitHub, read every blog post, check out all the conversations in the forum, watch the town halls, keep up with all the updates to the documentation, read all of the great media and industry coverage on Storj Labs, and stay on top of the emails we send. We’ll keep the communication coming through all our channels because we’re passionate about decentralized cloud storage and are extremely proud of the platform we’ve created. We’re confident when you try it, as a Storage Node Operator or a developer, you’ll love it too!