Today Amazon announced that they would be removing the ‘Unlimited’ plan from their Drive service. Users have been given 180 days to find a new place for their data, or otherwise be charged.
Amazon Drive Unlimited was a valuable service for many Amazon customers, and is now being shutting down. The service provided a home for many users that had data which was largely unaffordable on other platforms. The promise of unlimited storage was a huge boon for many, especially in communities like Reddit’s /r/datahoarders.
Amazon Drive is ultimately a product by a centralized company that can perform centralized decision making. These decisions can be made for any reason and at any time, and very often end up harming the end user in ways that can feel unexpected or unfair. When you use a centralized service like Amazon, you are trusting that their service is going to be there for you tomorrow. Amazon has bills and motivations, and at any time they can decide that it’s no longer worth providing service to you. And as we see today, this is something that does happen.
Bitcoin brought a new type of distributed system into the world. A system where you did not need to trust. A crazy way of writing applications that can’t be shut down, even by their creators. Users of these applications can rely on them to be there tomorrow, because there’s no kill switch.
We’ve taken that way of doing things and applied it to data storage. With Sia, there is no kill switch. As the founders and developers, we can’t disable your access to the network even if we tried, because we intentionally designed ourselves out of the equation. Sia is infrastructure that you can expect to be there, regardless of how the political or financial status of the major players changes. And that’s because Sia works hard to make sure that no single player or group of players is all that important or powerful on the network.
This won’t be the last time that a centralized network makes a dramatic change to a service that people depend on. When it comes to critical infrastructure, you do not want to be vulnerable to that. When it comes to something as important as your data, decentralization has a lot to offer.
Decentralization Could Have Saved Users of Amazon Drive was originally published in Sia Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.