Blockchain was popularized with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. But since then, its usefulness and appeal have exploded. The digital ledger technology now has applications in supply chain management and smart contracts for financial institutions and is used for a plethora of different cryptocurrencies.
The challenge is that as blockchain networks grow, it requires an immense amount of resources for these systems to scale. And simply throwing more resources at the problem isn’t a wise use of company funds. Instead, businesses need to strategically allocate compute resources, considering the unique needs of blockchain technology. This approach helps teams get more value out of every hardware component and better control blockchain infrastructure costs. Let’s look at how different computing components impact blockchain efficiency.
When Choosing Components, Consider the Specific Workload
Blockchain technology was first thought of in 1991 but didn’t become a reality until just recently. A big reason for this is that the hardware wasn’t robust enough to support the concept. Fast forward to today, and there are thousands of implementations of blockchain. But, there is still a scalability problem. The computing needs of blockchain are immense, and these needs start with the processor.
Processors. More processing power equals improvements in blockchain, right? Not necessarily. The problem is that while you employ more powerful processors, you also increase energy and component costs which can make blockchain unfeasible at scale. A better approach is to choose processors that can perform blockchain calculations more efficiently based on workload. For example, CPUs are great general-purpose tools, but their architecture limits their parallel processing ability. Tasks that require massive amounts of calculations, like Bitcoin mining and AI, require parallel processing. GPUs and ASICs far outperform standard CPUs in this regard and are the processors of choice when it comes to blockchain. The main difference between ASICs and GPUs is that ASICs are purpose-built. This gives them an edge in performance over GPUs but means they can’t be optimized for a different purpose once they are set up.
Storage. One of blockchain’s main value propositions is speed. But, because of its architecture, this can be a challenge. For example, blockchain can’t be edited or deleted, only added to. This means its storage requirements can only increase, making it crucial that organizations deploy storage solutions that can quickly process data and store vast quantities. While the general ledger is distributed across the network and not owned by anyone, the off-chain data still needs to be accessible. Organizations need to think of ways to balance both speed and capacity. Hybrid options that combine fast NVMe storage for read/write transactions with denser SSD or spinning disks can provide the balance blockchain needs to thrive.
Network infrastructure. Blockchain infrastructure optimization is useless if it can’t connect with the network efficiently. Component choices should take into consideration local computing capabilities, blockchain requirements, and bandwidth availability. By ensuring each component is in sync with your needs and matches other components, you’ll better control your hardware costs and efficiency.
Computing Efficiency Is Key to Scaling With Blockchain
Compute infrastructure is a costly but necessary part of working with blockchain. It is possible to scale while managing costs if you carefully choose each component, especially those that have the biggest impacts, like processors, storage, and networking tools.
Are you interested in optimizing your compute infrastructure for blockchain? Intequus can help you design hardware that is optimized for your blockchain needs. Our experts will factor in the type of blockchain, hardware requirements, and budget. Talk to our team to get started.