Sharding – What is it, definition and concept | 2022

Sharding is a technique applied to certain block chains or blockchain. It consists of dividing a network into smaller parts called shardyes This facilitates scalability and the highest speed of processing operations.

In other words, sharding is a system implemented from blockchain technology by which the network is separated into different compartments. This, instead of everything being part of the same network.

Sharding has, as we mentioned, the purpose of promoting business scalability. This concept refers to the ability of a company, project or computer system to achieve exponential growth.

Likewise, sharding seeks to improve the speed of the system. In other words, more operations or transactions will be able to be carried out per second.

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To understand why sharding improves scalability and speed, we need to remember how the blockchain works.

The blockchain problem and the sharding solution

Blockchain is a digital database where all transactions made on something specific are shared. Information is grouped into blocks.

The operations are recorded in the computers of all those who are part of the chain, including data such as quantity, date, operation and participants.

If a part of the chain suffers, for example, a hacker or malware attack, the network participants can identify which data has been modified. This, since everyone keeps a copy of the information.

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This blockchain system, which creates a network of public witnesses, reduces the risk of fraud. However, as the number of operations to process increases, the system can slow down. This represents an important challenge, since the conventional systems by which, for example, online banking operations are carried out, are faster.

To prevent these speed issues from occurring, sharding was designed.

In blockchain, each node or connection point must process all the operations that are carried out in the network. Sharding proposes to solve this by distributing the workload in such a way that each node does not have to process all the information of the network, but only that of a portion of that network.

Types

There are two types of sharding. To explain it, let’s imagine that we have a pivot table like the following:

Name loan principal Annual interest rate principal amortized Term (years)
Alvaro Gutierrez 200,000 5% 40,000 5
Anne War 250,000 4.5% 100,000 4
Stephanie Alcantara 230,000 6% 50,0000 6
Ernest Huertas 321,000 7.1% 60,000 4
Salvador Rosales 380,000 6.5% 80,000 6
Augusto Ramos 290,000 6.2% 70,000 5
uriel smith 310,000 5.5% 75,000 6
Olga Casas 270,000 4.7% 30,000 5
Patricia Husillos 210,000 5.3% 110,000 4
Ignatius Mustios 390,000 7.5% 120,000 6
  • Horizontal: Each new shard has information about the same variables, but the data is different. In other words, in the case of loans, each shard contains information about different loans, as we can see below. Loans from more than two debtors could also be grouped in the shard. For example, from the first five in the table above.
Name loan principal Annual interest rate principal amortized Term (years)
Alvaro Gutierrez 200,000 5% 40,000 5
Anne War 250,000 4.5% 100,000 4
shard 1
Name loan principal Annual interest rate principal amortized Term (years)
Stephanie Alcantara 230,000 6% 50,0000 6
Ernest Huertas 321,000 7.1% 60,000 4
shard 2
  • Vertical: Continuing with the previous example, in this case, a shard would have the data of the names of the debtors and the principal of the loan. Another shard could contain the annual interest rate and the amortized principal.
Name loan principal
Alvaro Gutierrez 200,000
Anne War 250,000
Stephanie Alcantara 230,000
Ernest Huertas 321,000
Salvador Rosales 380,000
Augusto Ramos 290,000
uriel smith 310,000
Olga Casas 270,000
Patricia Husillos 210,000
Ignatius Mustios 390,000

*As a curiosity, sharding is used by the Ethereum cryptocurrency.

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