Decentralized And Distributed Databases
Over the last decades, information flow has been constantly increasing, and it gets harder to store and arrange it the way you need. The main software solution aimed to resolve all these tasks is called database. Databases can be arranged according to several principles. From the management point of view they are:
- Centralized. Here, only one data source is available. It governs all connections and controls all received data.
- Decentralized. Here, several servers exist. They are connected in some way with a possibility to choose the best one to interact with.
- Distributed. Here, there is no central device. All network members are equal in their rights and may interact at will.
Standard centralized databases are widespread nowadays. Nevertheless, they still remain vulnerable and inefficient at some points, which are:
- Security. A central device is the main vulnerability point for such a system. If it is damaged or hacked, the whole system is in danger.
- Reliability. A single point of response is subjected to distributed attacks. They may cause malfunction or even service denial.
- Accessibility. Each user has their own requirements concerning data retrieved from the server but all protocols are standardized. Also, a single access point may be unavailable.
- Data transfer rates. The network latency is the problem if a user and a server are located in different places, far away from each other. There may be data losses during the process of transfer as well.
- Scalability. Since capacity is limited at some scaling point, the system just cannot go further.
Solutions can be found in decentralized and distributed databases
Problems with intrusion in case of a single central device becomes irrelevant. Since data is spread among all members, the system will not be affected if one of them is damaged. All others have the same data stored safely. If there is a kind of information changes applied, each node receives them in time and all data storages are synchronized again. This is similar to a multiple backup system with the lowest possible risk level of data damage.
Reliability, accessibility and data transfer
Reliability, accessibility and data transfer also benefit from decentralization. Having multiple points involved in the network interaction database can hold on the pressure.
Same data is stored at every network participant’s node. As a request comes, it is distributed across all nodes so that the whole network prepares the response. Thus, the aggregated capacity of the whole network is much higher guaranteeing protection.
The same can be told about DDoS attacks. They are efficient only when a single target is overloaded by multiple signals. But arranging such attack on distributed nodes would cost the fortune.
The network users can live anywhere. If an external request goes with a high latency, it can be easily switched to the closest point to remove connection issues.
In a decentralized network, scalability has fewer problems compared to a centralized system. When it comes to a single server, all users must be connected to it as all data is stored in it. This means that all requests about receiving, changing, adding or removing data goes through a single device. Obviously, its resources are limited. Thus, only a certain part of members will be supported fast, while the rest will have to wait until someone stops interaction. Moreover, if there is the system overload in the wake of a large amount of requests, the server might experience malfunction. Without a single weak point all those threats are irrelevant.
One of the most interesting recent application of distributed databases is blockchain. Basically, blockchain is a special type of databases that is stored by all nodes of the network at the same time.
All problems mentioned above have nothing to do with blockchain solutions. Data inside blockchain can neither be removed, nor counterfeited or maliciously transformed. Additional services and solutions, such as smart contracts, expand blockchain functions making it the best option for many activities.