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The Future of Content Hosting and Delivery?

Justin Dorfman
👋 Hi! I started to get heavily involved with the FOSS community in 2012. I contributed to Bootstrap, Font Awesome, jQuery, GNU Bash, and many others. I also host a weekly podcast called "Sustain".
Updated on ・3 min read

If you’ve used jsDelivr, GitHub Pages, Google Fonts, and or unpkg then you’ve used a CDN (Content Delivery Network).

I spent a little over five years working for a CDN (Long Live MaxCDN!) and toward the end, the market was getting super competitive, saturated, and profit margins were becoming extremely thin. We ended up getting acquired by a company that offers more web services than just content delivery which is definitely needed in order to survive in the highly competitive cloud computing market.

MaxCDN Network Map

MaxCDN’s Network circa 2014

I haven’t worked at a CDN for a while but I still keep tabs on what is happening. When I was still in the game, I never even thought about CDNs that would end up using a blockchain as a way to distribute content on a global scale. That was until I discovered Sia (not the amazing singer-songwriter).

If you haven’t heard of Sia, it’s a decentralized cloud storage platform that leverages blockchain technology to create a data storage marketplace. The creators claim that it’s more robust and more affordable than traditional cloud storage providers but I haven’t checked those claims in a production environment for myself. I’m just going to give them the benefit of the doubt and ask anyone reading this to please comment below if you can share your experience.

One product that uses the Sia network is Skynet is “The decentralized CDN and file sharing platform for devs.” If I was still in the CDN biz this would make me a little worried. Margins are thin enough! Regardless, I’m excited to see a CDN product built outside the box. The last exciting thing I saw in the CDN space was Peer5, which operates a large peer-to-peer (p2p) CDN by leveraging WebRTC and JavaScript.

The Sia Network

Sia's Skynet Network (2020)

What I like about Skynet is that they actually show you (a DEVeloper) how to get started right away. Here a simple code sample written in JavaScript to show you how easy it is to upload an image:

const skynet = require('@nebulous/skynet');

(async () => {
 const skylink = await skynet.UploadFile(
   './sia-namebase-gitcoin-hackathon.png',
   skynet.DefaultUploadOptions
 )
 console.log(`Uploaded! 👉 ${skylink}`.replace('sia://', 'https://siasky.net/'))
})()

As you may have noticed, there is no API key required! 🎉 Once it’s uploaded it will give you a URL to your file*:

$ node siaskynet.js 
Uploaded! 👉
https://siasky.net/PACROgvZaKLHOauEy6e9ePm04hBJ1U6DxIjTVq6TeOO-SQ

* supported file types: HTML, PDF, Image, Audio, Video, JSON, Dapp

What do you think?

Could Sia/Skynet be the future of storage platforms and CDNs? Why or why not?

P.S. Sia and Namebase are throwing a virtual hackathon on Gitcoin called Own The Internet. If this type of tech interests you, sign up. It starts from July 29th to Aug 19th, 2020. There is no entry fee, and it’s open to all regardless of whether you are a beginner or a Web3 expert. 👨🏽‍💻👩‍💻

Discussion (5)

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lukehmcc profile image
Luke

Aloha kind sir,

I've been part of the Sia community for a hot minuet by now and am definitely excited about what it can bring to the internet and devs alike. Actually I made a tutorial mini-series about the basics of Sia you can find here. It's more user focused, but it gives a good insight into how it all works.

The coolest thing about Skynet(at least for me) is that you can have this massive content library distributed over a massive amount of nodes, and it is all cross-accessible. So you could have access to a 100TB+ content library on a VPS with 60GB of SSD storage. Really cool stuff.

Also a new release is around the corner(the latest release candidate is looking pretty good), and that'll speed everything up by an order of magnitude or so on the web-portal side which is awesome!

Stay safe,
That one guy

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jdorfman profile image
Justin Dorfman Author

Hey Luke aka That one guy! Thanks for sharing the videos they are now bookmarked, and I'll watch them later.

How much content (in GB or TB) do you have stored on Skynet?

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lukehmcc profile image
Luke

Oh boy sorry for the late response; I never check medium. On my own private node I have nothing pinned(so effectively nothing stored) but I have uploaded oodles of files to public portals for temp storage while developing stuff.

I'd estimate I've uploaded a hundred gigs or so worth of stuff to public portals by now.

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siasteve profile image
Steve

Hey Justin, I work for Nebulous and we really appreciate the look at Skynet! We're definitely taking a developer-centric approach to the platform and are really excited to see what developers around the world can do to make bring decentralization to the CDN show.

Regarding:
The creators claim that it’s more robust and more affordable than traditional cloud storage providers but I haven’t checked those claims in a production environment for myself.

We make that claim because all pricing info is public, and can be verified on third-party site SiaStats (siastats.info).

Thanks for mentioning the hackathon as well. We've done a couple in the past, and this should be a great opportunity to get started with Skynet and take a shot at some cool prizes. Have a great day!

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jdorfman profile image
Justin Dorfman Author

Hey Steve, thanks for the link totally missed that. You have a great day/week too!