My perspective is a little different but i share it anyway:
I become a node operator a lot of years ago, at the time storj was not even called storj but SJCX.
With my work I am able to get wholesale computer components at very low cost, so I thought about building nodes specifically for storj. So I drew the case in 3D, printed it and finally assembled it.
The first node was a success right from the start, at the time there was no barrier on the new nodes and the stress test.
So I thought about expanding the operation, and since again, for work, I have access to different networks, I talked to the various managers and in exchange for a discount on my work they allowed me to put the nodes on their networks. In this way my work cost something less than the various competitors, and on the other hand the economic part that I gave up would be returned through storj. That was another big success for me, the new business model works and my own customer ask for it!!!
Few years ago, there was a spike in price, so i sold almost all my storj holding, and use a part of this to replace all harddrive with a bigger one. In such way i had more space to fill and brand new drives (and income).
Last year there was another spike, so i sold another big amount around 2$, but considering the 2$ it bring me a lot of money, and ask to myself: “is not better to expand further my node network instead of double the disk again?”
So, last year i prepare and put online more nodes…today i can say that it was a terrible idea.
While this nodes give more network power on storj network, more resilent than just have one single big node and they are powered by different power grid…they are unused because the “new node” barrier. So today i have the good old nodes filled, on about 4year old drives (with can put them in danger) that make me a total of about 400$ per month and the new nodes almost unused for no reason (at least from my side) to which I will still have to change the discs in the years to come.
So, I tried to upgrade one of the old nodes, to understand if it was the network full or if it depended solely on the “new node” factor. Well, the old node last month (the first after the power up) increased the used space by about 300M while the new nodes put online 8month ago still gain something like 100M (each one) … WTF??? Never again, i will upgrade all old nodes very soon and i will double them again in next years until the deletation rate will not allow them to rise more.
While i understand that my situation is unique, and the network is build for every one case…i had one question:
In the current way, first or later, all old operator, me included, will have something like 50TB or more on the same network (some one of them already got it), but their network is a resident with lower upload…what happens if the node start to be used for real?
YES, there are a lot of node…and the data can be download from different place BUT what if a lot of nodes are in such situation? Currently there is no big data usage and the only limit are the success audit, but if the network become heavily used what happens? A big part of this network start to fail the audit (that today maybe success just because no other usage is in place), got disqualified and leave…and this will not be even worst for the network effect?
YES, the grace-exit and the fail audit will “protect” you from data loss (maybe), but not from network distruption.
For this reason i think @wzrdtales have right, currently storj is usable only for slow purposes (backup mostly), because if some big company (data center like) try to use storj it will put the network almost offline (that is stupid considering the decentralization).
The storj network work only if a lot of space and bandwidth are free, otherwise the whole network collapse.
A dual model system is a possible solution…so, on one side you keep the decentralization, allow to reuse old hardware, hobbist, home connections etc etc…on the other side the professional keep the network safe allowing storj to be used even by big coops.