Blockchain performance and scalability addressed. These are two key characteristics of any platform. In a distributed ledger environment, such as the Hyperledger projects, both characteristics directly relate to end user satisfaction and ultimately adoption. Hyperledger has announced a Performance and Scalability Working Group (PSWG) to focus on this area.

The key will be how to define and implement a consistent and fair test suite for each use case. This is important to the industry and to the end user, as it

Mark Wagner Red Hat and PSWG
Mark Wagner, Red Hat and PSWG

will provide a fair measure of how a specific implementation will perform in different use cases. This will allow the user (customer) to select the proper implementation for their use case,” wrote Mark Wagner of Red Hat who will lead the PWSG.

Blockchain performance mission

The mission of the PSWG is to discuss, research, and identify key use cases and metrics that relate to the performance and scalability of a blockchain and blockchain related technologies. The PSWG will serve as a cross-project forum for architects and technologists. It will facilitate an exchange of ideas plus explore the performance and scalability aspects of both software and hardware.

The PSWG proposes to start at ‘the base’ of the mountain in terms of performance and scalability. The Group will identify multiple key use cases across different vertical markets. For each use case key metrics are vital. Each metric will be defined, along with measurement criteria. This will lead to defining a framework and how to measure.

The PSWG anticipates that the key metrics will vary based on use cases. In fact, it hopes one result will be maintenance of:

  • a matrix of the key performance metrics
  • corresponding data for many different blockchain and distributed ledger implementations.

The intention is that this will help end users to select solutions which will fit their specific use cases.

Blockchain hardware

Another angle the group will tackle is hardware. Specific hardware changed the Bitcoin field. There may be hardware advances which will assist the general blockchain and distributed ledger implementations.

The key will be how the group defines and implements consistent and fair test suites for each use case. This is important for the industry and the end user. If it these arrive they will provide a fair measure of how a specific implementation will perform in different use cases. This will enable users (customers) to select the implementation most appropriate to their use case.

What’s it mean?

This effort will not limit itself to Hyperledger. PSWG envisions working across industry sectors to establish consistent set of metrics and measurements. Participation is open to all interested parties

Blockchain performance is the sword of Damocles hanging over blockchain implementations. Inadequate performance can be the great inhibitor (as Bitcoin processing has discovered). The work of the PSWG matters. The more people and organizations that join the effort, the stronger should be the results.

[For those wishing to know more, email [email protected]. Or, for additional information you can also visit: https://wiki.hyperledger.org/groups/pswg/performance-and-scale-wg.]

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Charles Brett is a business/technology analyst consultant. His specialist areas include enterprise software, blockchain and enterprise mobility tech (including metering). Specific industry sectors of interest and experience include finance (especially systems supporting wholesale finance), telecommunications and energy. Charles has spoken at multiple industry conferences, has written for numerous publications (including the London Times and the Financial Times). He was the General Chair of the bi-annual High Performance Systems Workshop, 2005. In addition he is an author and novelist. His Technology books include: Making the Most of Mobility Vol I (eBook, 2012); Explaining iTunes, iPhones and iPads for Windows Users (eBook, 2011); 5 Axes of Business Application Integration (2004). His published novels, in the Corruption Series, include: The HolyPhone Confessional Crisis, Corruption’s Price: A Spanish Deceit and Virginity Despoiled. The fourth in The Corruption Series - Resurrection - has is now available. Charles has a B.A. and M.A in Modern History from the University of Oxford. He has lived or worked in Italy, Abu Dhabi, South Africa, California and New York, Spain, Israel, Estonia and Cyprus.


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