Data should be stored in space, firm says

Cloud Constellation Corp., a space data-center start-up, plans to build a space-based server farm, architecture and telecom backbone

Data should be stored data in space, Cloud Constellation Corp. says
Credit: Dragonuppl via Pixabay (CC0)

Space is significantly more data-center-friendly than earth, reckons a Los Angeles company that recently received a U.S. patent for a proposed galactic server farm and associated network.

Cloud Constellation Corp. says it’s going to provide a way for organizations and governments to shift chunks of data around, without using the traditional terrestrial infrastructure that it says is slow, insecure and a legal minefield.

“This concept will soon become reality,” president Cliff Beek says, writing in Nextgov about SpaceBelt. “Data will never pass through the internet or along its leaky and notoriously insecure lines. In-transit espionage, theft and surveillance become impossible.”

+ Also on Network World: Lasers will allow real-time satellite communications +

Companies being able to host data without having to wrangle with onerous international compliance laws is one of the selling points Beek pitched in a recent press release.

Indeed, new heavy-weight European data privacy regulations, known as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), were recently approved by the trading bloc for 2018.

GDPR will be tougher than already-rigorous consumer laws relating to data there. One of the principal aims of new GDPR is that EU residents’ private data should be protected even if it’s processed outside of the EU. Therefore, traditional foreign-based clouds will not be exempt.

Beek claims, however, that SpaceBelt-stored data would be exempt.

“Remove the relevant data altogether from the GDPR’s jurisdiction—which means taking it off-world,” he writes.

Improved data security and throughput

Data security will be another advantage when it comes to space-held data, the company says. It says “leaky internet and leased lines” are subject to “hijacking, theft, monitoring and sabotage” and that its dedicated telecom backbone network won’t be. In fact its “network-ring” won’t be connected to the internet it says.

Better throughput, too, is obtained by “avoiding traditional terrestrial ‘hops,’” it claims.

SpaceBelt’s still-to-be-launched data center platform will operate in low-earth orbit (LEO). That’s the area between the Earth’s surface and 1,200 miles up, and it is the same zone that SpaceX and the OneWeb Internet infrastructures will use for their upcoming broadband constellation roll-outs.

Cloud Constellation Corp. expects to build eight satellites for testing at the end of 2018, according to an interview chief executive Scott Sobhani gave with SpaceNews Magazine last year.

In the system, laser optical data pipes communicate between bed-sized server-containing satellites that are storing the data, and then data is then streamed “to secure customer terminals on earth,” the publication explained then.

Lasers may increasingly become used in space for no-latency, real-time data transmission. A major advantage over incumbent land or terrestrial radio is that there are fewer obstructions in open space, which means data can be sent over longer distances without the need for latency-introducing repeating.

In 2015, I wrote about almost-no-latency space laser communications. Airbus’s proposed combination LEO and Geo-stationary orbit (GEO) pipe had, in testing then, obtained speeds of 600 Mbps over a 45,000 kilometer link.

That system, known as SpaceDataHighway, went live at the end of 2016 and has a data rate of 1.8 Gbps now. Capacity is 40 terabytes a day.

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