Storage nodes are the principal part of the Storj decentralized cloud storage network.
Cloud storage services allow users who do not have enough hard drive space for things like text files, images or videos on their own computers or smartphones to rent out storage space remotely.
Usually, these services require a fee that ends up being more economical and convenient for the end user than the alternative: outright purchasing more and/or larger physical hard drives for their systems. Another advantage is being able to upload and download your files from any platform anywhere in the world.
In this scenario, cloud storage providers make a profit via economies of scale. They set up large space- and energy-efficient data centers that allow for the storage of petabytes of user data at a very low cost per byte.
When another user wants to store a piece of data on Storj, the network’s protocol breaks their file into so-called “file shards,” encrypts them, and distributes them among the disk space of several storage nodes, using multiple redundant copies of each shard for increased safety. When the data needs to be accessed again, the shards are retrieved from their respective storage nodes and reassembled into the original file.
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