Exploring File Storing & Memory Capacity In Internet Computer Canisters


One problem that plagues the traditional blockchain, crypto, and NFT space is that many projects and applications are still run on Google or Amazon servers, which goes against the notion that blockchain applications are truly decentralized and technologically independent.

Despite the cloud services and data center operations managed by Google and Amazon being reputable and established businesses, they do present Web3 builders with a problem i.e., their files and applications have to be stored on outside servers, they have no control over this vertical and are subject to expensive subscription costs, and if the servers go down, the data and applications go down too.

The Internet Computer (IC), on the other hand, solves these issues. Separate from Ethereum and Solana, the IC is the entire tech stack, of which the Dfinity Foundation owns the hardware layer, the protocol layer, and the application layer.

Most importantly, storage is all done on-chain. Developers, builders, enterprises, and regular users can keep and store their data on the IC through its unique smart contract canisters. Canisters are what allows these actors to program their applications and store data, which gets safely transferred in a decentralized way to the network’s system of subnets, nodes, and geographically-safe data centers.

Normally, smart contracts don’t necessarily store data per se, so this is what makes IC canisters different. Moreover, by being able to have file storing and memory management abilities, this allows developers and users to be able to build software services that scale. Memory, data storage, and data management are needed to scale.

Lastly, and separate from the technical memory and data topics is that the Internet Computer also has a strong developing file management system: IC Drive.

Technical Details Regarding Internet Computer Canister Memory

In fall 2021, canisters could essentially only hold 4 gigabytes of memory, however, with subsequent proposals made to the NNS network, that capacity rose to 8 gigabytes. So by enabling canisters to address more stable memory, it allows them to scale to the capacity of a single subnet.

In addition, as a result of that proposal there’s now a 300 gigabyte limit for subnet capacity for all the canisters shared, of which they will all use a piece of that memory. But it’s a current limit, and in the future the IC will have subnets that can support more storage. According to the IC team, it’s by no means set in stone and there are ways to extend this and to allow subnets to have more storage. Mainly, the team is currently working on ways to store canister data more efficiently.

For a more detailed overview of the conversation regarding canister memory, there’s been an ongoing Dfinity forum that began in August 2021.

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All About The Internet Computer
All About The Internet Computer

This blog is dedicated to exploring the Internet Computer's tech stack, how it compares to the industry, projects building on the Internet Computer, and what ways the Internet Computer is creating true Web3.

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