Enterprise IPFS & Scaling the Next Generation of the Internet
As we discussed earlier in our educational series on the Interplanetary File System (IPFS) protocol, the next paradigm shift of the web is on the verge of transforming modern technology. Digital systems and infrastructures of the past have begun to show their flaws, and new blockchain-based technologies are beginning to provide solutions that directly address the most pressing of these constraints. Of the many drawbacks that have held back previous iterations of the web, scalability has remained an omnipresent challenge.
In the realm of data storage, scalability has often come at the cost of centralization, an exchange that has proven both useful and catastrophic. In the control of a morally just company, a centralized server can be an essential tool. In the hands of a business incentivized to cut corners, centralization has proven to come at a significant cost to security. As technologies like IPFS continue to push the boundaries of what is possible online, concessions like centralization are beginning to fade away as a thing of the past. In order to fulfill this future, however, next-generation technologies will need to offer a realistic means of scaling. As previous waves of adoption have shown us, even some of the largest blockchains have been susceptible to high fees and congestion during times of peak usage. While adoption is critical for any new technology, it can be rendered meaningless without the necessary scalable infrastructure.
Due to the digital security incorporated by blockchain-based technologies, scalability is not as easy as it was in previous generations of web development. Core principles like security via consensus and decentralization are not to be cheaply given away, rendering “fixes” like larger block-sizes to be temporary, shortsighted attempts at solving a much larger issue. Due to the relatively small size of blocks, storing large amounts of data is most feasibly accomplished off-chain. Similar to second-tier solutions like Lightning, IPFS offers a scaling solution that has specific applications, including decentralized and transparent file storage.
Versioned or redundant databases stand to benefit the most from some of the most innovative aspects of IPFS, including deduplication. For example, IPFS intuitively recognizes and stores any potential duplicates of files or subsets or files in one logical address, preventing the wasteful use of network resources. In industries where versioned databases are commonplace, this feature alone has the potential to drastically reduce the raw size of next-generation file systems. In industries that utilize large amounts of versioned data like scientific research, data science, and software development, features like deduplication have provided a novel means of storing data efficiently, reducing the overall resource load of the network.
As technologies like IPFS continue to reveal new methods of managing and storing data, companies are beginning to develop additional tools to further strengthen the technology. RTrade’s Temporal platform is designed to enable essential capabilities on top of the IPFS framework including search, IPFS uploads and pinning, IPNS publishing, and key management. We have designed the IPFS infrastructure necessary to allow both enterprise customers and advanced users to quickly integrate IPFS into their application stack. Our APIs allow easy adoption without sacrificing security or centralization, providing customers with an innovative means of managing data as they transition to the next generation of the web.
In part two of our series on scaling the next generation of the internet, we will discuss the potential for technologies like IPFS to incorporate off-chain scaling solutions.