We are slowly -- too slowly -- moving towards unified storage: One interface to access our data no matter where it is, be it our computer, a file server we own, a cell phone, or a hosted storage service somewhere on the Net. We need unified storage because managing the file systems and keeping track of what's where is getting way out of hand.
One small step towards unified storage is coming from Fabrik, a startup run by ex-Maxtor exec Mike Cordano. Fabrik wants to be your one and only file system. It doesn't quite succeed at that, but there are some good and useful ideas in the system.
If you put your media files (music, photos, videos) in Fabrik, you'll find it easy to get the code that enables you to publish them to whatever media sharing service you want -- your MySpace or Facebook page, an eBay entry, or a blog. There are plenty of options, more than I've seen on any other system, and more should be added shortly. What's missing is a tool to publish directly to the sites, though, like VideoEgg has.
You can also share items directly, either by creating a standalone Web page, or by tagging individual items as visible to certain people. However, you'll find Fabrik's native media viewer just functional -- not as attractive or as the flexible as the dedicated viewers you'll find on the sites Fabrik helps you publish to.
Fabrik technology will ship first as software built in to a line of Maxtor "Fusion" network hard drives, turning them into Internet media servers as well as drives for your local network. It will also be available, from Maxtor, as a hosted service. Eventually the hard drives and the hosted service will communicate with each other; very popular files on your network drive will end up getting mirrored onto the hosted service to conserve your bandwidth (similar to Pixpo's architecture).
Fabrik is similar in concept to the Mirra product and service, which is owned by Seagate. Seagate has acquired Maxtor, so we can expect these products to merge. What Fabrik has that Mirra doesn't is the multi-site publishing capability.
While Cordano pitches Fabrik as a replacement for media file management on a PC, it can't reach that far yet -- whenever you want to work with files on your hard drive, you're going to need to use Windows (or the Mac OS, depending). But Fabrik is a decent platform to help you publish your media files to wherever on the Web you want them.
Fabrik will be presenting at the Under the Radar conference on Wednesday. I'll be at the event, moderating a few sessions and scouting out companies to cover. Find me there if you have one.