Trio of IBM's Indian engineers gain US patent for invention that lets you choose or change the location of your cloud data
By Anand Parthasarathy
Bangalore, August 25 2014: A scary thing happened to some users of Microsoft's email services last month. A US court ordered that some emails stored in Microsoft's servers in Ireland, be disclosed to help in an ongoing case, effectively violating the privacy that customers of email services expect. The decision -- which Microsoft is appealing -- says US courts have a right to all the data held by a US-based company -- anywhere.
Some countries like France prohibit government employees from using Blackberry phones, because the mail data is centrally stored in the US. India is insisting that mail and data service providers host Indian clients' data within India.
All this is threatening the very rationale of cloud-based services. How can I be sure that when I entrust my data to a cloud provider like Amazon or Microsoft, some court in a foreign court will not impound my files one day?
Relax! Help is at hand: A team of IBM scientists -- most of them based in India -- has just won a US patent for an invention that will allow individuals or businesses full control over how and where their data is stored by their cloud service provider. As a customer, I can choose in which of the service provider's global servers my data is stored. I can dynamically shift my data to another country if I so choose. This is so important because snooping on personal and corporate data has become the accepted practice in some countries.
The invention is called " Geographic governance of data over clouds: U.S. patent #8,676,593". The lead inventor is Pune-based Sandeep Ramesh Patil who in his 15 years at IBM, has been responsible for 45 patents, 50 Inventions and 150 patent applications. Designated 'IBM Master Inventor', Sandeep is that rare person -- a completely home grown, desi genius from Pune's Vidya Bhavan (Model Colony), Loyola's Junior College and the Poona University's SES College of Engineering in Kopergaon.
Two others cited in the patent have since left IBM: Sriram Ramanathan, another designated Master Inventor is now CTO at Kony Solutions, a mobile apps company in Florida; Abhinay R Nagpal, went on to study at Stanford University and is now with a US Silicon Valley outfit, Nutanix. The fourth co-holder of the patent is an American engineer -- Matthew Trevathan of Atlanta Georgia.
“During the early years of cloud computing, it was evident that storing and accessing business data across geographically dispersed cloud computing environments could present logistical and regulatory challenges,” says Sandeep.
" Ensuring location affinity for the residence of business data in storage clouds is critical for any enterprise , including thosein India who are in uptake towards embracing cloud" , he told IndiaTechOnline.
Serial inventor Sandeep, shares his recipe for success -- and his next patent -- with readers:
P - Passion
A - Attitude
T - Thought
E - Entertainment (Get joy from thinking and not consider it a job)
N - No Giving up
T - Teamwork