Blockchain infrastructure forms the backbone of every blockchain protocol. In simple terms, you can think of blockchain infrastructure as the nodes on which the networks run. A node is a single machine with the appropriate protocol software running.
Blockchain infrastructure does not include the underlying networking infrastructure or protocols.
Your blockchain infrastructure can run on bare metal or virtual machines. They can be located on-premises, in data centers or the cloud. For most institutional level operators, you can divide blockchain infrastructure into 2 main types:
- Bare Metal Infrastructure – dedicated machines located in specific data centers
- Cloud Hosted Infrastructure – virtual machines hosted by cloud providers
Both bare metal and cloud offer pros and cons. At a high level, these boil down to control (bare metal) versus flexibility (cloud).
The leading infrastructure providers utilize both bare metal and cloud. This gives you the best of both worlds.
Why Blockchain Infrastructure Matters
Distributed networks rely on component nodes being connected, performant and responsive. Because of this, healthy infrastructure is crucial to blockchains. It allows distributed ledgers to establish consensus as quickly as possible.
Blockchain Networks Can’t Exist Without Reliable Infrastructure
Without rigorous and trusted infrastructure, blockchains would be in a constant state of flux. There would be no stable ledger and the protocols would be rendered useless.
On a more practical level, users, financial services, and blockchain based institutions rely on infrastructure to generate and protect their tokens.
Poor Infrastructure Will Affect Your Profits
If your blockchain infrastructure is not up to standard, it could affect your bottom line. Poor performance could result in a loss of reputation. Outages could result in slashing, and a loss of your hard-earned digital currency.
If you are committed to blockchain applications, infrastructure is the most important building block for long term success.
A Brief Overview of Bare Metal Infrastructure
Bare metal refers to physical computers that have not been partitioned into virtual machines. Because they are specific physical machines, they can be built and configured to specific requirements. Bare metal gives total control over component selection and quality.
With Bare Metal You Can Ensure High Specification Machines
Blockchain nodes have different requirements from most other computers. They need high availability and consistent performance. Bare metal infrastructure lets you build specific machines with blockchain requirements in mind.
Bare Metal Gives More Control Over The Environmental Impact
You don’t just have control over the technical specifications either. With bare metal, you have control over your environmental impact. That is, you can choose where your energy source comes from, whether renewables or traditional.
Bare Metal Allows In-Depth Monitoring
With bare metal, you also get more control over monitoring. This is vital for blockchain infrastructure. Blockchain outages can lead to serious consequences. For example, if your nodes go down, you could get a slashing penalty.
Advanced monitoring lets you predict if, and when, your infrastructure might go down. You can therefore schedule maintenance and avoid any penalties.
Bare Metal Takes More Effort to Scale
Bare metal does have some drawbacks when compared to cloud hosted nodes. Bare metal takes longer to scale, while also costing more to add nodes in some circumstances.
Each bare metal node is a physical, independent machine. You need to source, configure and maintain the physical components.
In summary, bare metal infrastructure gives you control and resilience.
A Brief Overview of Cloud Hosted Infrastructure
Cloud infrastructure is becoming more and more prevalent throughout both industry and consumer technology. Blockchain is no different.
Cloud Hosted Infrastructure Provides Greater Flexibility
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) gives increased flexibility and significantly reduced lead times. With bare metal nodes, it can take days or weeks to provision and configure physical machines. With cloud hosted nodes, you can spin up a virtual machine in seconds.
You Get Less Control Over Your Infrastructure With Cloud Providers
However, that flexibility has drawbacks. Importantly, you cannot be as exacting in your hardware specifications. If blockchains nodes are key to your business, they should be running on enterprise grade, blockchain optimized servers. You can’t ensure this with cloud hosted nodes.
In summary, cloud hosted infrastructure lets you flex and scale easily.
For Perfect Blockchain Infrastructure, You Need Bare Metal AND Cloud
In reality, the best infrastructure solutions provide a combination of control and flexibility.
Blockchain businesses need both bare metal and cloud computing. The bedrock of high performance, resilient machines coupled with the ability to quickly ramp up.
Unfortunately, due to the complexity and expense, most providers avoid the optimum approach.
3 Things to Look Out For When Choosing an Infrastructure Provider
1. Most Providers Rely Heavily on Cloud Infrastructure
Increasingly, large scale infrastructure providers are opting for cloud hosted infrastructure. While it’s easier and cheaper for them, it’s not necessarily better for their customers.
With blockchains, there are some fundamental infrastructure aspects that you need to control. Especially if you’re offering enterprise grade infrastructure.
When businesses and livelihoods depend on your blockchain, your infrastructure needs to be robust. Your provider should have control over hardware capability, DDoS resilience and even network routing. If you’re running a serious blockchain business, you cannot leave these to chance.
2. Some Providers Use Consumer Grade Hardware
Simply put, consumer hardware is not robust enough for blockchains. Yet many providers will throw basic, consumer grade hardware at their customers. It might be cheaper in the short term, but you will suffer when nodes start to slow down and fall over.
Remember, these machines need to run 24/7, 365. You need to make sure your provider uses blockchain appropriate hardware.
3. Many Providers Aren’t Concerned with Environmental Impact
As I’ve previously discussed, Blockchain has the potential to make the world a better place. However, it is also adding to the global environmental problems. You could be adding to these problems if you choose the wrong provider.
By choosing the right provider though, you can reduce blockchain’s environmental impact. Environmentally conscious providers, like Blockdaemon, are committed to using renewable energy wherever possible. If you share our concern for the planet, you should question your provider’s environmental credentials.
Blockdaemon’s Crypto Optimized Infrastructure Blend
Blockdaemon is the leading infrastructure provider. We understand the needs and challenges of blockchain businesses. We provide the best-in-class infrastructure solution.
Our Blockdaemon Crypto Optimized Blend utilizes both bare metal and cloud. It is the perfect solution for blockchain businesses, and also helps our customers reduce their environmental impact.
Blockdaemon Bare Metal Nodes
Bare metal nodes form the core of our infrastructure solution.
These are all premium Dell enterprise machines. All our nodes have best-in-class AMD EPYC CPUs and are housed in 100% renewable Tier 3 data centers. We have dedicated engineering resources and complete control.
Industry leading DDOS protection provides 400gb/s hardware level protection. We have an additional fallback layer with 6tb/s protection. This is the gold standard of DDOS protection across the board, not just in the crypto space.
Enhanced network routing gives us full control of traffic management. Our technology routes internet traffic along the fastest possible routes. This speeds up our customers’ transactions and overall network consensus. No other provider offers this service.
Curated Cloud Providers
Our class-leading cloud providers are an important element of our approach. They give us, and our customers, the ability to scale rapidly.
We only use cloud providers who share our commitment to a greener world.
Choose Blockdaemon for Blockchain Infrastructure
Blockdaemon is the leading blockchain infrastructure provider. Nobody knows blockchain better.
We operate over 10,000 nodes across 40 protocols. Our customers include major financial institutions, exchanges and custodians. We guarantee 99.9% uptime, plus your staked tokens are covered by slashing insurance.
We will protect your blockchain investment, you can help us protect the planet.