A couple of years ago I came up with a proposal for something I called a Distributed Virtual Personal Computer (DVPC), which was an attempt to abstract the user's data from their personal computer and have that virtual data live on the Internet, with the local storage of the PC simply being a cache of the distributed, virtual data. I have decided to rename the concept to Distributed Virtual Personal Data Storage (DVPDS) to focus the emphasis on the user's data as distinct from the computing or processing capabilities of their PC.
I don't intend to pursue implementation of the DVPDS concept at this time, but I do want this proposal to be available so that others may contemplate the incorporation of its features into computing infrastructures that they may implement in the coming years.
Here is the preamble for the new DVPDS proposal:
This proposal for Distributed Virtual Personal Data Storage (DVPDS) supersedes my previous proposal for a Distributed Virtual Personal Computer (DVPC). DVPDS includes all of the concepts of my previous DVPC proposal, but simply changes the name to emphasize the focus on the data storage aspects of a personal computer (PC) as distinct from the computing or processing capabilities of a PC. In particular, it abstracts the user's personal data to give it a virtual form distinct from the actual storage used to store that virtual data.
The intention remains that all of a user's data would live in a distributed, virtual form on the Internet, and that the user's device (PC or phone or other computing device) merely caches the distributed, virtual data. The intention is that the user gets all of the performance and other benefits of local mass storage, with none of the downside, such as need for backup, anxiety caused by lost or mangled data, inconvenience of access from other machines, difficulty of managing archives, etc.
The intention is not that the user would "work on the Web", but to continue to emphasize higher productivity through rich client devices with instantaneous data access and full control of that data. In practice, users will frequently or usually work directly on the Web, but occasionally or sometimes frequently or for extended stretches of time they may work disconnected from the Internet, all seamlessly and with no loss of the positive aspects of the user experience.
With regard to the requirements for being distributed, the emphasis is on maximum diversity so that users can be guaranteed that their data will be both readily accessible and protected from loss due to even the most extreme of contingencies. Degrees of diversity include vendor, geography, communications backbone, and offline, so that neither human error, fire, flood, earthquake, explosion, vendor financial difficulties, sabotage, theft, or legal disagreements, can cause any of a user's data to become inaccessible for more than a shortest period of time. A particular emphasis is placed on avoiding vendor-specific solutions. Vendor "lock-in" is unacceptable.
One area that needs attention since my original proposal is the more-demanding storage requirements for media such as music, video, podcasts, and movies, as well as intellectual property issues such as DRM.
This proposal is in the public domain. It may be copied and modified -- provided that Jack Krupansky and Base Technology are credited and a link back to this original proposal is provided AND these same use and distribution terms are carried along.
Please note that DVPDS is only a concept right now, with no implementation or business plan to turn the concept into a product and service.
The rest of the document is unchanged since its creation to describe the DVPC concept, but should be read as referring to the DVPDS concept.
-- Jack Krupansky