What Is Sharding?

Sharding is a concept borrowed from traditional database management. It refers to the process of splitting a larger database into smaller, more manageable parts, called shards. Its application in blockchain aims to improve scalability, whilst maintaining the principle of decentralization. In essence, sharding occurs when a blockchain network is divided into smaller parts known as shards, each capable of parallelly processing transactions and smart contracts.

How Does Sharding Work?

Understanding how sharding is executed within a blockchain network requires a comprehension of how blockchain data is usually stored and processed. There are various ways data can be processed. We are going to look into sequential and parallel processing.

Typically, each blockchain node is responsible for handling all of the transaction volume within the network. This type of data processing is commonly referred to as sequential processing. This implies that every node must maintain and store all critical information, such as account balances and transaction history. In essence, each node must process all network operations, data, and transactions.

Though such a model bolsters the security of the blockchain by recording every transaction across all nodes, it dramatically slows down the processing of data. This is where parallel processing of data comes into play as it allows for multiple operations to be executed concurrently.

Sharding can be a potent solution to this predicament as it divides or ‘partitions’ the transactional workload across the blockchain network. This means that not all nodes need to manage or process the entirety of the blockchain’s load.

Instead, sharding segregates the workload through horizontal partitioning. In this process, the data is divided into horizontal subsets, with each shard acting as an independent database capable of processing transactions separately from the others.

See also  The Final Candlestick pattern that every trader ought to know is the Morning/Evening Star