​Storj Labs forges open-source vendors and cloud services alliance

Open source powers today's cloud, but many open-source developers haven't profited from the cloud's growth. Storj Labs wants to change that dynamic so both can make money.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

At the Linux Foundation's Open Source Summit in Vancouver, Storj Labs a decentralized cloud storage company, announced a partnership that will enable open-source projects to generate revenue when their users store data in the cloud: The Open Source Partner Program.

Why? Ben Golub, Storj's executive chairman and long time open-source executive, explained there's a "major economic disconnect between the 24-million total open-source developers and the $180 billion cloud market." That's why, for example, Redis Labs recently added the controversial Commons Clause license to its Redis program.

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Storj takes an entirely different approach. One that starts with Storj's fundamental decentralized storage technology, which Golub called "AirBnB for hard drives."

Storj provides a blockchain encrypted, distributed cloud storage. It uses spare disk-drive space shared by storage node operators, farmers to create a secure network for developers, operations teams, companies, and others who need secure cloud storage. By using client-side encryption, Storj ensures that data can only be accessed by the data owners. Storj's distributed architecture, its makers claim, protects against attacks, improves reliability, and enhances performance when compared to traditional cloud storage approaches. Storj features an Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3 compliant interface. This makes it easy for open-source projects to incorporate Storj into their existing cloud application infrastructure.

How this ties into monetizing open-source projects: The Storj network, unlike conventional cloud storage, will provide a sustaining revenue stream to open-source projects using the Storj network. Storj, Golub said, gives 60 percent of its gross revenue to its storage farmers and splits the remaining 40 percent with open-source developers.

Storj Labs works with its partners to build Storj data connectors that integrate with their platforms and track data storage usage. Partners will be given priority help desk support and tools to test the network's performance and capabilities. This way you'll know what to expect before putting your program into production. Partners will also receive joint marketing help.

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The Storj Labs has convinced ten open-source partners, including Confluent, Couchbase, FileZilla, MariaDB, MongoDB, and Nextcloud, to join its Open Source Partner Program. Each partner will earn revenue every time their software's end-users store data on the Storj platform.

Revenue is also earned both through new user referrals and by driving incremental cloud storage use with existing Storj customers who deploy the partner's open-source software. Payments to partners are guaranteed for the duration of that customers' use of the network, so as usage increases, so does revenue. When an existing Storj user deploys a partner's open-source software, the partner will also get a share of the revenue generated from the incremental storage and bandwidth usage. Partners will also receive early access to the new V3 Storj network, which is n private alpha.

"Open source drives a sizable majority of the $200 billion-plus cloud computing market, but very little of that revenue currently makes its way directly back to open-source projects and companies," said Golub. "There is a massive opportunity for decentralized cloud platforms, like Storj, to address that imbalance. By leveraging the unique economic aspects of decentralization, we can enable the projects and companies who build the network to directly derive sustainable revenue from it."

Shawn Wilkinson, Storj Labs founder and CSO, added, "The principles of openness and transparency within the decentralization community make it a perfect match for open source. We look forward to seeing our new program enable partners to do more within their respective ecosystems and jointly with one another."

This decentralized network technology and business model approach is clearly appealing to open-source companies. "Decentralized initiatives are a perfect match to open-source projects," said Roberto Galoppini, FileZilla's director of strategy. "The early projects are young and have resources, while mature projects have solid user bases but often lack pathways to revenue."

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"MariaDB's modern and flexible database architecture is a great fit for technologies in the emerging decentralized cloud storage space, such as Storj's platform," said Nick Stinemates, MariaDB's vice president of business development, in a statement. "This partnership gives MariaDB users the ability to unlock new benefits with storage solutions that are breaking the traditional mold."

"Security and control over data are key reason for our users to deploy Nextcloud," added Frank Karlitschek, Nextcloud's founder and CEO. "Storj Labs' decentralized cloud storage platform supports our security and privacy strategy, providing customers a resilient and distributed, strongly encrypted, cost-effective storage platform. Joining their partner program fits our goal of providing transparent access to data, no matter what storage platform it is on."

Want to know more? You can visit Stroj's partner page.

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