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Prioritize Backup

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Moderation & Curation
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The Design Problem

In a centralized application, it is assumed that the owner will prioritize backing up all your data. If there was some natural disaster at one of Google’s data centers, for example, they have a variety of backups of your data in various locations around the world.

In a decentralized application, we have no guarantee that data will be replicated to other locations. In fact, for some use cases, this user agency and control over who has access to their data is a feature, not a bug. But if users expect long-term storage across the world’s data centers, your app needs to provide timely information about status and availability.

The Design Solution

Prioritize backing up all data in multiple locations, ideally across the world. Tell the user when data has been synchronized to long-term storage locations. Pair this with Network Health Indicator for more fine-grained information about where data is synchronized.


  • IPFS
  • Aether

Why Choose Prioritize Backup?

When users depend upon long-term storage of their data.

Best Practice: How to Implement Prioritize Backup

  • It can be more useful for static data (i.e., data that doesn’t change).
  • Trust needs to be established among any partner organizations beforehand to ensure a resilient backup network.
  • Make sure to communicate about the community-owned infrastructure up-front.
  • If possible, encrypt data before backup so that it is not readable by the storage providers.

Potential Problems with Prioritize Backup

  • Without encryption, users could be subject to attacks. Be sure to communicate when unencrypted data will be stored and readable by others.
  • Prioritize backup can be too technical. Hide advanced metrics and show users simple indicators for canceled, paused, in progress, completed, and error.
  • It could be difficult to delete data if there are many storage providers or peers on the network.

The Take-Away

Prioritizing backup is crucial for competing with centralized services that provide long-term storage.