VDrive - Providing Storage via Volunteer Computing

FAST - National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences, Karachi

Project Summary

VDrive is a novel idea of providing storage services through volunteer nodes. Participants are contributors and beneficiaries. Storage is implemented using chunking on user nodes, where each chunk is replicated for enhanced availability. Security is incorporated through encryption and chunking. It provides downloading from nearby replica. User access is controlled through a centralized server which also stores user and node profiles in order to allocate the amount of storage for each user and the node. Multiple chunks can be downloaded at a time in order to experience improve performance. The project can be used either in a closed space or for open access. It has multiple benefits over using local or cloud storage.

1. The project implements file chunking, which provides efficient storage and improved security.

2. Vdrive incorporates replication for improved availability

3. The project is based on high security mechanism to ensure user privacy and security.

4. Allowing downloads from multiple destinations at a time enhances speed

5. Profiling users and storage devices provides improved storage mechanism.

6. Downloading from nearby user, provides improved user speed and enhanced experience

Background

Storage is one of the most important issues nowadays, companies and enterprises are willing to have a storage network that is cheap, secure, and centralized at the same time.

There are mainly two types of solutions.

1) Local storage - does not provide fault tolerance and availability

2) Cloud Storage - have high latency

Vdrive is a solution to address these problems. It provides storage as a service using volunteer architecture. It is an ideal solution for the companies who have a lot of workstations in their offices and need a centralized storage system.
The motivation behind this project is to experience, explore, and provide an inexpensive solution to the storage problem. For this we have planned to bring Volunteer Computing to provide Storage as a service for the effective usage of valuable resources, with the help of distributed systems architecture. Our project is intended to solve the problem where a company/business has to pay a third party cloud service for the centralized storage system. The idea we have proposed is to build a storage system based on the voluntarily available resources.

Justification

This project nominated to the ISIF Asia award because…

VDrive is an innovative idea about using volunteer services for storage. It provides a creative solution to ICT needs in the Asia Pacific region. VDrive utilizes user and node profiles, their availability trends and their processing capabilities to provide an inexpensive and available solution to user's storage needs.
Our Project is based on a unique architecture which is not found in any developed form in the market. With this project we are opening up a whole new domain for implementation, and research. Furthermore we are attempting to solve a major problem of efficient file storage as an inexpensive solution which itself is a very extensible idea.
The work has already received recognition through National ICTRD Fund.

Team

Objectives

VDrive provides an efficient, and well-organized Distributed Volunteer File storage system for an Institution, or an Organization. The Project is based on the visible trends in an Organization where it is found that most Personal Computers never achieve their full storage capacity, and the investment is generally never reaps a full benefit. The project plans to utilize this issue by constructing a Client Server architecture where files can be uploaded to, and downloaded from a server, but instead of server saving this information in itself, or other dedicated machines, the server will allow the files to be saved in the volunteer nodes within that environment.
This inexpensive solution will work on the ‘give-and-take’ policy, where every node that will be allowed access to the network, and the information it hosts will have to contribute to the Volunteer storage pool of Data. This solution will cut major costs, and implement a secure model of a storage system on any existing architecture where a string of Personal Computers are available. In addition to a closed environment such as office space, the project can also be used in an open environment as the storage mechanism can utilize high security.

Following are the benefits

1. The project implements file chunking, which provides efficient storage and improved security.

2. Vdrive incorporates replication for improved availability

3. The project is based on high security mechanism to ensure user privacy and security.

4. Allowing downloads from multiple destinations at a time enhances speed

5. Profiling users and storage devices provides improved storage mechanism.


6. Downloading from nearby user, provides improved user speed and enhanced experience

Technical details and contribution to innovation

Java
Netbeans
Eclipse
Android
MySQL

Activities

- A thorough and Comprehensive Design
- B) Development on Multiple platforms such as Android and Windows
- C) Testing and Experiments




Outcomes

1. Security Features

Vdrive ensures the security of the files/data through two fold security mechanism,

a. Encrypting the file
b. Breaking a file into chunks

These mechanisms make sure that no file is accessed by the unauthorized user. Even if someone gets hold of all the chunks of a file (which is highly unlikely) firstly it would be encrypted, and only the client who uploaded the file can decrypt it, secondly the intruder will not be able to identify the file extension it belongs to as only the owner client holds that information.


Availability:

1. Our system is available over the internet.

It has multiple usages such as
a) Office employees who want to access their files from outside the office.
b) Students


2. Vdrive can also be accessed through an Android application on the Android phones and tablets.

3. Our system ensures availability through replication of the data chunks on different systems.

4. Higher speed of access by allowing downloading from nearby node and by using download of multiple chunks at a time





Publications and dissemination efforts

In Progress.
Will be uploaded on the website

Awards and distinctions

ICTRDF National Grass root Program

Website

https://sites.google.com/a/nu.edu.pk/syslab/projects/vdrive/

profile or page from the organization or project leader

https://www.facebook.com/FASTNUCOMPUTERSCIENCE

profile from the organization or project leader

N/A

profile from the organization or project leader

N/A

References and recommended reading about the project

https://www.facebook.com/projectvdrive

Project Representative

Jawwad Ahmed Shamsi

Project Representative on

http://pk.linkedin.com/pub/jawwad-shamsi/7/542/a6b

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