A day in today’s world is incomplete without interacting with the internet and without hearing the mention of crypto or blockchains. Hence, the importance of learning and applying resolute Blockchain Maintenance is critical to sustaining the crypto economy.
But how much do we know about the existence of a Blockchain? Are you familiar with the Different Blockchain Frameworks?
Moreover, is Blockchain storage real? And is a Blockchain backup necessary? Let’s learn!
What is a Blockchain Network?
A Blockchain Network is a shared, immutable ledger on which transactions are recorded, which also helps to track asset trades.
It contains nodes and validators who are responsible for validating transactions made on it by the users.
Such qualities of a blockchain make it a reliable location to store transaction data and run Web3 products like DApps and Smart Contracts. Henceforth, every crypto transaction or asset transfer is recorded on the blockchain, which can possess different consensus mechanisms to process the data.
Depending on the type of blockchain architecture, its transaction processing speed may differ, which is known for affecting the cost of gas fees. So, it’s pretty critical that the blockchain data must be stored somewhere, correct? Yes, and no.
Blockchains are immutable, and they do not need data backups as much as most Web2 technology infrastructure based systems.
For example, the Hyperledger Fabric is termed popularly as the Linux Blockchain. By design, it does not require its nodes on the blockchain network to perform or manage data backups frequently. But if you look closely, it’s nothing like popular blockchain networks like the Ethereum, Binance Chain, etc.
→ Is HyperLedger Fabric a Blockchain System?
Naturally, one must believe that it’s not a blockchain because its network architecture and consensus mechanism are different. But, it is essentially an efficient blockchain possessing vast scalability, which will soon join the big cryptos league.
Does Blockchain Store Data?
When you know how to make a blockchain or its functions, you’d know that even blockchains need to process and store the data somewhere. So, yes. Blockchains do store data.
While the data on the blockchain, decentralized or otherwise, cannot be modified, it still is at risk of data loss. Therefore every blockchain needs to have configured data protection modules for a blockchain backup.
So let’s first take an overview of how data management is performed on a blockchain, followed by learning its typical maintenance methods.
• On-Chain Data Management
The ledgers holding the peer’s on-chain data on the blockchain are linked to each other, with the functionality of recovering data from other peers or ledgers. While such an operation depends on how many peers are present on the network, it still makes managing the on-chain data on the network a ‘native’ function of itself.
Many on-chain storage hardware systems already possess some management tools to copy and protect the ledger. So they add up to supporting the on-chain data management functionality.
• Off-Chain Data Management
The data stored by an individual peer on the blockchain network is the responsibility of that peer. Its example could include off-chain data documentation, stored hashes, stand-alone API utilities, etc. Thus, some blockchains consider it illegal for their peers to delete any supporting data without going through the blockchain.
Moreover, recovering the copies of the lost blockchain data invariably involves acquiring consensus from the rest of the blockchain participants.
→ What if Blockchain Storage Point fails?
As per on-chain data management, when a blockchain peer fails to recover the data, the linked ledgers will attempt to perform typical Blockchain Maintenance by retrieving them. But, in the scenario when off-chain data is lost, here’s when the data protection modules applied specifically for Blockchain Backup come into play.
So, let’s view it to see how typical blockchain maintenance can be set up and performed on a need basis.
Blockchain Maintenance: Can You Backup a Blockchain Network?
Whether a blockchain can be saved as a backup is disputable because of various factors. Take, for instance, the Blockchain storage size of Ethereum on 3rd June at 735.94 GB, an increase over yesterday’s 731.49. While it can easily fit in any 1.5 TB external storage drive, backing it up is pointless unless it’s possible to interact with the backup.
Therefore similarly, the blockchains employ disaster management strategies so they can quickly replicate data from other nodes on the network. It may include backing up the node’s entire stable state. Let’s see how it helps with the process of restoring nodes.
• Restoring Nodes
In most cases, the nodes can possibly make a straightforward full backup of all the files in the blockchain directory. It can be done using specific separate commands on Windows and Mac or Linux systems.
The whole activity involves simply reinstating the backup files in the correct place, followed by restarting the node. The node should catch up with the blocks in a while, which is also true for restoring crypto wallet backup.
• Data Recovery
Discovering the functioning of a data recovery module of a Blockchain backup requires first classifying the blockchain types. It is because they make a difference in terms of the speed at which they can process transactions.
The data management and handling flow between private, public and consortium blockchain systems remain nearly similar. The differences lie within their nodes that are responsible for maintaining data recovery.
Private Blockchains feature faster transaction speed, with their data storage access efficiency being optimally relative to conventional databases.
Such systems maintain Single or multiple nodes to achieve safe and reliable data recovery.
Therefore based on the blockchain structure, the Data Backup Modules & Data Recovery Modules are designed accordingly to enable a combination of reliability, speed and scalability.
Typically, the Blockchain data backup recovery needs to follow the steps mentioned below to retrieve the lost data and resume functionality.
- Local nodes must send their digital signature and identification of the data for restoration to the access controller. The access node shall thereon assign the coding matrix onto the local data node as per the access control strategy.
- The local data node shall send the data recovery request with the coding matrix EM to the data processing server, which will download the needed data coding block from the node in the blockchain network based on the data identification hierarchy.
- Lastly, the data processing server is responsible for decoding the downloaded data code blocks for obtaining the original data blocks. The server shall then combine the data blocks to fetch the original data for returning it to the local data node.
You can read more about Secure Data Storage and Recovery for Industrial Blockchain Network Environments here.
How is Blockchain Maintenance Performed?
Performing Blockchain Maintenance of the Hyperledger Fabric Blockchain system is ardent to learn for Crypto Developers. Since it doesn’t come with dedicated blockchain storage data backup or restore options in the box, learning to acquire data from a running instance and restoring it to a new one is one way to perform the maintenance job. Read more about it here.
The typical method to perform Blockchain Maintenance for other blockchains requires using data protection modules. These modules must be designed in a specific way to ensure the following conditions:
- Maintaining Data Integrity: Data recovery systems must authenticate the data node and the data it submits for cases of tampering.
- Data Access Control Limitations: Encoding Matrix must be configured with detailed and precise access control policies for allowing raw data only to the authorized data nodes.
- Efficient Data Recovery: The critical blockchain data must be backed up periodically and restored efficiently via blockchain and specific computing nodes to offer better performance and scalability.
The Success Rate of Data Backup & Recovery within the subject and purpose of Blockchain Maintenance depends on the quantity of the nodes in the system and the coding matrix settings.
These dependencies indeed affect the performance of the Blockchain backup systems and their recovery capacity. Hence, it is possible to back up blockchain data, but running simulations for these operations before deploying the systems is advisable to meet the different shortcomings.
Performing Blockchain Maintenance is essential to keep it alive, which entails maintaining and improving blocks, nodes, servers, and network connections. Hence having proper measures for Blockchain storage maintenance are inevitably mandatory.
The cost for blockchain maintenance varies depending on its type between private, public and consortium types. For instance, private blockchains need approximately ~15% to 25% of the overall project cost, which can vary further depending on the network’s nodes and the Blockchain infrastructure and the backup systems.
Blockchains are usually decentralized, so at no point in time does a central location store all of them. Therefore, the entire blockchain data is stored in computers or systems identified as nodes across the network.
On average, the Hyperledger blockchain ledger spanning between terabyte or multi-terabyte size could require 0.659 TiB of storage per annum. Still, several other factors can affect the requirement of Blockchain storage allocation, like counts of transactions per block and related blockchain activities.