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Space Monkey aims to put the cloud in your home

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May 16, 2013

The Space Monkey cloud storage solution

The Space Monkey cloud storage solution

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Most cloud storage solutions like Dropbox and Google Drive give users space at a premium, but the actual data is stored in a data center in some remote location. A new product called Space Monkey aims to take the storage out of the data center and put it back in the hands of the user. This allows it to offer more data than traditional cloud storage solutions for a much lower price.

Space Monkey, unlike other cloud services, actually puts a piece of hardware in the home of the user. The physical device allows the company to offer 1TB of cloud storage for US$10 a month, which is substantially cheaper than other storage solutions. Dropbox, for example, charges $9.99 a month for 100GB of storage.

The other benefit of having a physical device is the speed. According to the creators of the Space Monkey, its offering is up to 60 times faster than any other cloud storage service on the market. Of course, this extra speed comes from being on the same local network as the device itself. If a user is out and about, Space Monkey promises speeds similar to that of traditional cloud storage services.

When data is uploaded through Space Monkey, it is encrypted and spread out to different drives on the network. This is done to protect the data in the event of a disaster, such as a fire. It also creates redundant copies, which helps make sure no files are ever lost.

Like most cloud storage solutions, a simple folder will be added to the user's desktop, and anything added there will be uploaded to the service for access anywhere. The company is also working on an iOS and Android application, which should help users get all of their photos and videos organized and in one place. All files are also available on the web.

Space Monkey is currently seeking funding for its cloud storage replacement on Kickstarter. The funding period ends in just over one day, and the project has more than tripled its $100,000 goal. A pledge of $119 gets users the Space Monkey device itself and one year of cloud access. The funding from the Kickstarter campaign will go towards scaling manufacturing and getting the product into the hands of users.

More information is available in the following pitch video.

Source: Space Monkey via Kickstarter

About the Author
Dave LeClair Dave is an avid follower of all things mobile, gaming, and any kind of new technology he can get his hands on. Ever since he first played an NES as a child, he's been an absolute tech and gaming junkie.   All articles by Dave LeClair
11 Comments

This is available via OneSwarm (and other software) for free. I fail to see why anyone would pay $120 a year for something they can have for free.

Anne Ominous
16th May, 2013 @ 12:47 pm PDT

People may think this is a good idea (placing "the cloud" in the hands of home users), but it's NOT.

The BIG trade-off is that your drive is now playing host to parts of other people's data. This in itself has A LOT of downsides.

First is that your data is on other people's drives in their homes.

One single mis-encryption and anyone with the drive and a HD reader could access your data. Dropbox and their ilk don't put your data in other people's homes, to have that risk.

Second, is that you're playing bandwidth host to anyone/everyone whose data is being stored on your box. Many people don't know it (because it's not advertised) but most ISPs actually throttle bandwidth when a user's use is excessive.

Home ISP bandwidth is not the same. ISPs don't provide the same speeds for UPSTREAM bandwidth that they do for DOWNSTREAM. Meaning, transfers OFF your home box are going to take a LONG time for large files or large numbers of files. Even when load-balancing across the Monkey-Net.

Two Replies
16th May, 2013 @ 01:36 pm PDT

This sounds awesome. I'd gladly trade some of my unused bandwidth for the benefits of this. And I'm sure if you are an IT professional and like to run home servers and set up and configure software yourself, you could probably do something like this yourself with rsync and a bunch of buddies --- heck, I could even set that up. But I don't want to. I want something painless that I can just sign up for and/or plug in. This seems like it might be it.

Jackster1
16th May, 2013 @ 02:00 pm PDT

Seems to me that the security risks outweigh the idea by a large margin. Considering the cheap costs of 1TB external drives nowadays, you could buy several, link them by Wi-Fi or physical cables without much effort (IT friend?) and have the nearest ones back-up in turn to the others once a week or so if you worry about data loss. Keep the oldest one somewhere in a fire or loss-proof location and you are sitting pretty.

The Skud
16th May, 2013 @ 07:00 pm PDT

AeroFS.com gives you the same advantages, more control, and you use the hard drives you already own in your computers.

Warrick Smythe
16th May, 2013 @ 07:17 pm PDT

The cloud is all about user pays software. Ground based storage is best for consumers but we wont get a choice as long as we keep subscribing to the big boys.

Grant Ertel
17th May, 2013 @ 02:21 pm PDT

Tarabites of storage is cheap, why pay someone per month for something you can buy at Costco?

Jerry Peavy
17th May, 2013 @ 06:08 pm PDT

Given that the cost of physical storage is going down, the math for this device is just not there over the long run.

mountainhiker
17th May, 2013 @ 08:10 pm PDT

Let's put a few worries to bed here. As for hosting other people's information, there's almost no risk of it being seen by an hosting user. This is one of many solutions doing the same thing,and they all encrypt and usually break that data into pieces. For bandwidth, I don't know about space monkey, but all the others I've seen either start with throttling or soon get it as that's one of the first features user's ask for. ..and they usually don't use that much up by default anyway.

mystixa
18th May, 2013 @ 01:06 pm PDT

If your house burns down the only thing you can't replace are photos/data and such. With even cell phones doing 1080p video now most people have more personal photos/video than they can realistically push to most cloud storage platforms like dropbox without paying a lot of money.

NAS is great but it gets destroyed with your home so a cheap off site storage method (a sort of group NAS) is a good idea. You could broker personal deals with friends for storage space but mostly nobody does.

I think a middle ground like spacemonkey makes a lot of sense. Functionally it works pretty much like dropbox but at much cheaper price.

I would just like to see an option without monthly fees. I don't mind paying the upfront costs of the device, I'd probably even be willing to pick up a higher end device with a bit more storage space if it came with a smaller free account.

There is only about a $30 difference between a 1TB drive ($70) and a 2TB drive ($100). If I run a 4TB unit I should be able to get 250G of space for free or like $10/year.

This also partly solves the bandwidth problem as ~500G of space on my 4TB unit would be used for my own stuff so I wouldn't have to use other peoples pipes unless my node went down and I needed the backup data.

I understand Kickstarter is just to get the product launched though. There is no reason they couldn't expand it later on after they get a successful launch. There are a lot of cool things they could do with them.

Daishi
19th May, 2013 @ 12:59 pm PDT

Yup, good idea but it shouldn't really be called Cloud, more like NAS. Seems to be reinventing the wheel a little. I like this solution but as part of a hybrid backup system. The reason for the "Cloud", or any off-location storage is in case of disaster, it's somewhere else. I would use it with my Box account.

33Nick
19th May, 2013 @ 08:05 pm PDT
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