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In part one of this series, we discussed blockchain security. To achieve the full potential of your application and of the blockchain technology, and to benefit from the digital transformation it can bring to enterprises, you should concentrate on and invest in the proper infrastructure to support it.
Let’s go into the infrastructure features that you’ll need for properly hosting blockchain applications in 2021.
Processing Power for Blockchain Applications
The blockchain environment requires fast processing power and a lot of storage space. Why?
Blockchain applications work by storing application-specific data in blocks that are added continuously to the chain. Deletions or updates also append to the chain. For each such operation the infrastructure needs to process the change and calculate the new hashes. Thus the application needs to sit on an infrastructure that is both fast and cost-effective to support the encryption process for every append. The chain will also grow indefinitely, and so your infrastructure will need to scale along with the number of transactions.
Some people have created blockchain apps on virtual machines; however, the processing power and the stability of a VM are smaller compared to other hosting options. Dedicated servers provide you with the fast processing and the high performance needed for such an app. But they can’t be scaled quickly or that easily.
There is a third option that combines the features of dedicated servers, and that of the cloud: bare metal servers. Bare metal servers are high-performant and resilient like dedicated machines, and also provide you with the flexibility and scalability normally found in cloud deployments.
Stability, Resiliency, and High Availability for Blockchain Applications
Blockchain technology has the potential to become the foundation for digital transformation processes in businesses worldwide. If that is the case, then applications should be operational 24/7. In server talk, that means they need high availability, stability, and resiliency.
- High availability – downtime of new business processes and networks can hinder services and apps built on blockchain, so a high level of availability and 24/7 uptime is crucial.
- Stability – digital transformation projects have increased demands for a great user experience, and device-based applications; you should know your server metrics and their effect on UX.
- Resiliency – a server, network, or storage system, needs to recover quickly and continue operating even when there has been an equipment failure, a power outage, or any other obstruction.
Scalable Storage for Blockchain Applications
Blockchain is an innovative technology that functions like a new type of database. Information, be it data or transactions, is added chronologically to the “chain” and the environment needs to be able to store all that. Besides that, the system must also support growth, both in data and transaction volume, as well as in-network participants.
For this type of infrastructure, you must be able to quickly deploy additional compute and I/O resources. For the environment to work best, you should build system architectures with on-demand features and capabilities that can support the data and transactional volume growth associated with blockchain. Scalability is a must for the underlying infrastructure that supports the blockchain network and applications.
Along with the adoption of blockchain technology in business, transaction volumes will grow (perhaps exponentially) and the underlying infrastructure needs to be prepared. Although it seems like an easy way to go from POC to production with blockchain, companies need to make a definite plan before hopping on. You should carefully consider the requirements for system resources and scalability, as well as the impact these will have on operational cost and management of the IT layer.
So, which are a few infrastructure options for deploying such applications?
Public Cloud vs. Bare Metal Servers for Blockchain Apps
A lot of blockchain apps are probably hosted on public cloud platforms, and for some deployments it could be enough. But applications generally require fast computing power as discussed earlier, and the presence of the hypervisor in virtualized options is known to decrease overall performance.
For a more stable and scalable app, you will need an infrastructure that can support your rapid-scale blockchain requirements, and that can meet the increased performance demands. Bare metal servers that provide fast processing are more suitable for this technology.
The difference between bare metal cloud and virtualized cloud servers is that bare metal cloud has no hypervisor to host different operating systems. This means that it is overall faster and more performant as there’s no in-between layer to slow it down. Bare metal servers offer high performance, especially when discussing big resource needs.
Between the processing power, availability, and scalable storage, a bare metal server is the optimal platform to host your blockchain app on.