Sandstorm lets you run your own server and install apps like EtherCalc, GitLab, LibreBoard, Wave, and more as easily as you'd install apps on your phone.
Sandstorm is designed from the ground up to be radically easier to use than any other server platform.
Easy to get apps: Installing an app on your server is like installing an app on your phone. Just choose the app you want from the app store and click "install". You never have to use command shells nor edit config files. You don't have to know about databases nor reverse proxies. Everything is done through your web browser, or handled automatically.
Easy to collaborate: Sharing is built into Sandstorm. You can share any app or document with anyone, whether or not they have an account. Sandstorm supports real-time collaboration apps, including document and spreadsheet editors that allow your collaborators to see what you are typing in real time.
Easy to set up: Installing Sandstorm on your own Linux machine today is as easy as running one script, and it automatically keeps itself up to date. We are working on ways to make it even easier, such as building a Sandstorm distro that can be installed on any machine or VM. We also plan to launch a hosting service where we will manage your server for you, for those who would rather have their apps "in the cloud".
Sandstorm is designed by security wonks. Where most developers don't want to think about security, we care deeply about it, and have designed the whole system to protect you.
Protection from malware: On a traditional server, installing an evil app could mean you lose everything. Under Sandstorm, each app runs in its own secure "sandbox" which starts out isolated from the world. It can't interfere with your other apps nor "phone home" to its developer until you give it permission.
Protection from bugs: Let's face it: most developers don't think enough about security, and they end up producing apps that have bugs allowing hackers to get in. Sandstorm automatically protects apps against a wide range of common vulnerabilities, and security-critical functions like login and sharing are handled by the system itself.
Protection from spying: Sandstorm apps cannot phone home, so they cannot collect data about you for advertising purposes nor perform unwanted experiments on you. Moreover, we are developing advanced per-document encryption techniques to thwart even dedicated hackers.
No protection from getting your job done: Security can often be a hassle, getting in the way of your work. Sandstorm is different. When you tell a Sandstorm app to talk to some other app, or to talk to the internet, Sandstorm sees your intent and automatically grants it access. So, you are never interrupted by a prompt asking "Do you want to allow this app to the thing you just told it to do?" And yet, the apps only get the permissions you actually wanted them to have.
By separating app developers from hosts, Sandstorm leaves you in control.
Freedom to Choose: Run any app you want. You are not limited to what's in the app store. Any developer can build a Sandstorm package, and you can upload any package to your server. You can even run Open Source and Indie apps from developers who don't have the funding to run their own servers.
Freedom to Customize: When you are running your own copy of an app on Sandstorm, there's nothing stopping you from customizing it to your needs, because your changes only affect you. Especially with open source apps, if you don't like the way a feature works, or wish you had a feature that's not there, you can fix it. Not a developer? Perhaps a friend can help, or at worst you can pay someone for a day of work. Compare this to big centralized web services, where you are at the mercy of the operator, who will probably ignore your requests.
Freedom to Integrate: Big centralized web providers tend to build walled gardens that lock you in. Their apps tend only to integrate with other apps from the same company. This isn't because they are evil -- usually it's because they are lazy. With Sandstorm, all your apps live under one roof and behind one login system, which makes it much easier for them to talk to each other securely. And if an app allows any other app to integrate with it, then it must allow all apps that speak the same protocol to do so, so developers can't shut each other out.
Why have a personal server? Lots of reasons:
Use a wide variety of web apps on Sandstorm, including things that you can't find elsewhere. We have the usual e-mail, photo sharing, and collaborative document editing, but also niche apps that the big guys will never offer because they can't be monetized. Moreover, Sandstorm is the only easy way to run many great open source apps.
Sandstorm apps can only talk to the outside world with your explicit permission. That means they can't secretly spy on you, develop an advertising profile from your data, or perform psych experiments on you without your consent. Plus, apps running on your server do not disappear when the developer stops supporting them.
When developers run the servers, they can lock you in to their walled garden, refusing to play nice with competitors they don't like. Sandstorm puts all your apps and data under your roof, where you can mix and match apps as you please. You can even freely move between hosts and take all your apps and data with you.
What's in it for developers? As it turns out, lots of things:
Just build your app and put it in the app store. No need to maintain or pay for servers. No need to carry a pager. No need to design for scalability. Use any tech stack that runs on Linux — Node, Rails, PHP, Java, Python, whatever. It's easy to port existing code to run on Sandstorm.
You don't have to implement login. You don't even have to implement sharing — Sandstorm does that for you. You can even export APIs and integrate with other apps without thinking about OAuth. Sandstorm protects you and your users from most common security problems, so you can rest easy.
Do your corporate customers often ask to run your app on-prem, behind their firewall? Does that sound like a huge pain to support? Sandstorm makes it easy, handling packaging, deployment, and updates.
Use Sandstorm to run your enterprise server cluster:
A Sandstorm app only takes a couple clicks to deploy. It's so easy and secure that non-technical employees can actually deploy the apps they need themselves, without wasting valuable IT time. Get SaaS-like ease-of-use while keeping your data on-prem and under your control.
Sandstorm automatically compartmentalizes apps and users, preventing application bugs from leading to catastrophic security failures. Meanwhile, Sandstorm's innovative security model ensures that these protections never get in the way of people doing their jobs.
Sandstorm's enterprise tools will allow a cluster of machines to be treated like one big server. Just load the Sandstorm image on each machine and turn them on, and they'll self-organize. Install apps just as easily as with the personal version, as seen in our demo.
These companies contributed heavily to Sandstorm's crowdfunding campaign.
These folks contributed heavily to Sandstorm's crowdfunding campaign.
These 675 people contributed to Sandstorm's crowdfunding campaign.