What are shards in the blockchain? What are its advantages and disadvantages?

Blockchain is a technology that stores transaction records in various "databases" and shares them among participants through a "chain" connecting nodes on the network. This storage is called a digital ledger, and each participant has a copy of the record. Initially, blockchain was created to support cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, but industries and organizations from different sectors later began to apply blockchain technology in their daily operations. The organization found that the security and versatility of the technology brought good news to its operations, and began to use blockchain platforms and applications.

Until a few years ago, only financial technology (FinTech) and supply chain management companies widely used blockchain technology. Today, other companies have begun to adopt blockchain technology to provide better solutions than their market competitors. E.g:

Nebula Genomics, Encrypgen, Luna DNA and Zenome are disrupting current healthcare providers and their facilities by allowing consumers to maintain control of their DNA test samples and test data. com and Airbnb face huge competition from LockChain.co because the latter is developing a zero commission market based solely on travel. The Sia network is disrupting the cloud computing that provides giants such as Amazon, Microsoft and IBM by providing services to anyone who has too much storage space to rent out their desktop computers on a cloud platform. What is blockchain sharding?

With the recent development of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency, users flock to these platforms, resulting in more transactions. For each transaction, the node is added to the existing node. Since the blockchain allows every node to participate in the transaction, the verification of each transaction will slow down the transaction process. This is where blockchain sharding emerges.

Sharding is a database partitioning concept used to improve database efficiency. An organization's network can be divided into smaller partitions, called "fragments." Compared with other shards, each shard has its own unique and independent data.

Sharding is a technique used to optimize stored data and process it quickly and efficiently. It is a horizontal partition of the database, which separates the load on a single database and makes it more efficient. Each shard is stored in a separate server instance. By spreading the network workload across multiple shards and supporting the processing of more transactions, it helps achieve latency-free scalability.

How sharding in the blockchain works

In order to maintain the status of the digital ledger in the blockchain, each shard can share records with other shards. Every participant who can view all transactions can still use the ledger. The split nature of sharding can benefit transaction processing because dividing the workload will help transaction processing faster and reduce latency.

Horizontal partition

Block chain sharding can be achieved through horizontal partitioning. Split the database by dividing the rows of the same table in horizontal partitions and storing them in different database nodes. The shards can also be classified according to the digital assets contained therein. Transactions involving these digital assets may be a collection of different fragments.

Vertical partition

The database is split vertically in vertical partitions, where different tables and columns are stored in separate databases. It is considered domain-specific, and a logical split is planned to store application data in other databases. Vertical partitioning is usually implemented at the application level, and code is written to read and store records in its designated database.

Advantages of sharding

Sharding reduces the problem of constantly checking storage limits and computer functions, because splitting the database makes settings more flexible. Relational databases can run without upgrading their computer resources. The fragmented database infrastructure speeds up query response time. This is achieved by dividing the sharded database into different tables, so that the query can traverse fewer rows to find results and return answers faster. The most significant advantage of sharding technology is that since the attacker may only target one shard, it can mitigate network attacks and damage. This may cause only part of the database or application to be damaged, thereby reducing the overall damage to the database or application. Disadvantages of sharding

Fragmentation increases the complexity of implementing shared databases and brings considerable risks. Wrongly implementing a shared database will expose the blockchain to vulnerabilities and cyber attacks. After the records are split into separate databases, it is difficult to revert to an unsharded database architecture. This will affect the backup of transaction records, and data may be affected. Vertical sharding has certain limitations in splitting the database into different shards. Fragments can only be divided according to the function of the server or the content assigned to us by our cloud provider. However, powerful servers are very expensive. Finally, not all database engines support sharding. For example, PostgreSQL does not have the function of automatically splitting the database. However, sharding can be implemented manually in PostgreSQL. Blockchain sharding is a promising solution that can be used to split records and improve scalability, reduce latency, and process more transaction records in a shorter time. However, it increases the complexity of blockchain technology and highlights potential weaknesses in applications or databases. The implementation of sharding technology depends on your priority, and depends on your application and platform.

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