Blockchain Success: How To Scale Effectively

7th July, 2020

Have you developed a blockchain application? If so, did you plan for how your infrastructure costs will scale with volume? 

Block by Block 

Blockchain by definition is a “decentralized ledger of all transactions across a peer to peer network.” Its uses range from cryptocurrency to crowdfunding and digital payments to the Internet of Things (IoT). Its explosive growth has led to more than $2.1 billion global spending on blockchain solutions in 2018 alone.  

Additionally, experts have predicted that the global blockchain market will exceed $20 billion by 2024. The number of LinkedIn job postings listing blockchain-related skills has tripled in the last 12 months while 69% of banks are currently experimenting with blockchain technology.  

Blockchain and the Cloud 

Leveraging crypto technology has positioned blockchain as the next big thing for securely holding, distributing, and monetizing data. Blockchain applications are predominantly being built in public cloud as it’s easy and the cost of entry is virtually nothing. For example, 60% of Ethereum nodes are running in the cloud. However, is this the best place for your blockchain technology?  

Before you decide, it is important to assess all angles. Have you factored in the price of data? Have you taken the liberty of calculating your infrastructure costs once your solution starts to scale? Do you have a working model of how your data will expand in the coming months and years? These questions will be very important for your scaling hosting budget. 

Growing Pains 

Most public cloud providers offer a free trial period or first-use credits to get you onto their cloud. Once you’ve got your application working, it most likely makes sense to also use your development environment for production. It is important to note that this choice could lead to extremely high costs and performance disadvantages. 

Beware: High Public Cloud Costs Ahead  

  • Once the public cloud free period/credits have expired, the cost of compute is often more expensive than buying compute from alternative sources such as bare metal. 
  • Public cloud charges extra for data transfer out (egress) which can get out of hand. Essentially, every piece of information your platform is producing is being charged. Other hosting solutions often include a certain amount of data egress. For example, THG Hosting servers in the US & EMEA, as standard, include 20TB/month of data, which would cost circa $2,500 extra in the public cloud. 
  • Public cloud leverages the principle of sharing servers/components. Should other applications need resources at the same time as your application, you could see a degradation in performance (this effect is known as ‘noisy neighbors’). The only way to guarantee that you have the full performance of all the components is to dedicate them to your application. 
  • Technologies such as Intel SGX means you can code applications to have more control of the processor on your bare metal server. This means your application is more secure and potentially faster on bare metal, as if coded properly, your server is doing less read/write to the drive. 

A Fresh View 

Public cloud is an excellent hosting solution for many applications, but for blockchain, it’s potentially slow and expensive. Users must ask themselves if they could do more by repurposing some of their hosting budgets on infrastructure

For example, how could a better performing solution give you a competitive advantage? If your competition leveraged ways to improve the performance of their solution and reduce costs, would this create a competitive disadvantage? You may be surprised by the answer. 

Conclusion 

Bare metal infrastructure can quickly add predictability and power to your blockchain technology. Dedicated resources create the speed and reliability you need to effortlessly store and scale your blockchain applications. Speak to an infrastructure expert at THG Hosting today to find out how we can help with hosting infrastructure for blockchain.