The University of California at Berkeley is looking to create a data-storage network that encompasses the planet.

OceanStore is a research project at the university that would use software to break data into many tiny, encrypted parts and store them across a vast array of Web servers owned by Internet service providers around the world.

A vast redundant-storage network, such as OceanStore, would afford easy access to data from anywhere and unprecedented levels of disaster recovery, according to its inventor, John Kubiatowicz. If more than one computer or server were to crash, OceanStore would be able to rebuild the information using pieces stored in multiple clusters on other servers.

OceanStore would track documents by assigning each one a globally unique identification (GUID) tag, before it's split into fragments and sent over the Internet to be stored randomly throughout the network.

"You would maybe spread 64 fragments of a document around, and maybe 16 of those can be used to reconstruct [the original document]," Kubiatowicz said. "We're assuming a system the scale of OceanStore will have pieces of it broken all the time."