Considerations for Meeting Metaverse Storage Needs

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Over the past year or so, the Metaverse has had its share of hype and is being marketed as a 3D replacement for the 2D Internet we all use today. Whether or not the metaverse will ultimately be successful or not is up for debate, but one thing is certain: the metaverse will force organizations to rethink their storage strategies.

Metaverse storage can be classified into three categories. First, storage is going to be needed for the metaverse itself. I am talking about the virtual world in which users of the metaverse perform various activities. These worlds are vast, complex and richly detailed. It seems inevitable that most of these digital worlds will be stored in the cloud.

Take the example of Microsoft Flight Simulator. It’s not exactly Metaverse, but you can use a VR headset with the latest version. At one time, decades ago, the entirety of Flight Simulator fit on a single floppy disk. Back then, however, objects in the virtual world tended to be very rare, and the few objects that did exist were mostly just wireframes.

Fast forward a few decades, and Microsoft Flight Simulator has evolved into an extremely realistic simulation that accurately replicates real-world landscapes. About a year ago, Microsoft had modeled 1.5 billion homes and over 2 trillion trees! This huge and complex virtual world consumed 2.5 petabytes of Azure cloud storage space. Since then, Microsoft has made additional improvements to Flight Simulator, so it’s likely consuming even more cloud storage.

As vast as the world of Microsoft Flight Simulator may be, the Metaverse is likely to get much larger. After all, the world of Flight Simulator is tightly controlled by Microsoft. On the other hand, anyone with the necessary skills will be able to develop content in the metaverse. As such, it probably won’t be long for the metaverse to outgrow Flight Simulator in size, consuming many petabytes of storage.

Metaverse Object Storage Challenges

Even though virtual worlds rendered in the metaverse consume a huge amount of storage, these are not the only types of storage that will be needed. Just as the world itself will need to be stored somewhere, so will the objects rendered in the metaverse. I’m talking about things like avatars, NFTs, and user-created 3D objects.

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While it is conceivable that these types of objects could be stored on an object storage platform such as AWS S3, it seems more likely that they are stored in a decentralized blockchain-based system. This way, the metaverse objects will not be under the control of any organization. Additionally, the underlying blockchain infrastructure is ideal for protecting purchases of digital real estate and NFTs.

Storage of data generated by the metaverse

The third way storage will be needed in the metaverse is that organizations will need to find a way to store generated data in the metaverse. These data sets will vary widely across use cases, but could potentially be huge depending on what an individual organization is trying to accomplish.

Imagine that an online retailer creates a virtual store in the metaverse. Think of it as a more up-to-date version of the present infamous demo created by Walmart A few years ago.

Traditionally, retailers have gone to great lengths to organize their physical stores to maximize profitability. The same would presumably be true for a virtual metaverse store. As such, the retailer would likely collect a significant amount of data related to each shopper’s experience in an effort to make the store as profitable as possible. Some of the data collected may include where the shopper’s eyes are looking at any given moment, what items the shopper is looking at or interacting with, the order in which the items are placed in the cart, etc.

Depending on the granularity of the data collected and the number of buyers, the data footprint can become quite large. All of this data will need to be stored somewhere, and it will need to remain private – separate from the data used to make the world virtual or data related to virtual objects in that world.

Conclusion

Even the concept of a metaverse is still in its infancy, so it remains to be seen what kind of metaverse storage will ultimately be needed. One thing is certain though – the metaverse will require and produce far more data than the 2D Internet we are all using right now.

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