BitTorrent works with NAS vendors to boost file sharing

BitTorrent said NAS fits with its peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol, lines up native Sync support with NAS vendors Seagate, Overland and NetGear.

BitTorrent technology, best known as peer-to-peer software that lets consumers download music and video files for free, is showing up as a feature to boost file sharing on SMB NAS products.

Seagate Technology included BitTorrent Sync file-distribution protocol as a native add-on with the Seagate NAS and NAS Pro series launched Tuesday. Seagate became at least the third NAS vendor to support BitTorrent Sync natively. Overland Storage said last week that it has integrated Sync in its SnapServer DX series of NAS arrays, and NetGear in April launched a native Sync application for its ReadyNAS family, including the 2120, 3220 and 4220 Business Rackmount Series.

At least one other SMB NAS vendor -- QNAP -- lets users download BitTorrent Sync as an add-on.

The integration deals are part of a broader effort to find new uses for the Sync functionality, said Erik Pounds, BitTorrent vice president of product management for Sync. He said BitTorrent is working with other NAS vendors and could make more announcements soon.

"Network-attached storage devices are an important part of the BitTorrent Sync ecosystem and we're aggressively developing strategic partnerships to integrate Sync into leading storage products," Pounds said.

BitTorrent Sync enables multiple computer users, collectively known as a swarm, to simultaneously upload or download files from one another's systems. BitTorrent breaks a file into bits, syncs each bit to a specific user directory and automatically reassembles the file bit by bit on the back end. The process is designed to make it easier to share large files across distributed networks, although it creates latency.

The Sync application uses AES 128-bit encryption keys to distribute files securely across a network. A user on the receiving end cuts and pastes the 33-digit alphanumeric code into the BitTorrent Client to access the shared file's directory.

Businesses and consumers have no shortage of file-sharing options, both from dedicated file sync-and-share vendors such as Box and Dropbox and from storage vendors adding the feature into their products.

Randy Kerns, a senior strategist at analyst firm Evaluator Group, said broad adoption of BitTorrent Sync in NAS may not be far off.

"Think of this trend as moving in the same direction as anti-virus [tools] for NAS. It could become an adjunct offering that we may see in all NAS systems," Kerns said.

The Seagate NAS Pro enterprise series is available with two, four or six bays. The NAS Pro ranges in capacity from 2 terabytes (TB) priced at $400 to 30 TB priced at $2,500.

Seagate NAS is designed for small business and home offices with about 25 employees and comes in two-and four-bay configurations. The two-bay device is available in capacities of 2 TB for $250 and 10 TB for $650. The four-bay configuration ranges in price from $599 for 4 TB to $1,500 for 20 TB.

Overland Storage has integrated the BitTorrent file-synchronization protocol into GuardianOS 7.5, its Linux-based proprietary operating system that uses the XFS file system. Sync will come preinstalled in future releases of the SnapServer DX 1 and DX2 system.

"We positioned it to work as both a private and personal cloud and also for disaster-recovery synching," said Overland product manager Jeremy Zuber.

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