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Tech Deep Dives

What’s New with VMware Blockchain 1.6

The VMware Blockchain group is excited to announce the release of VMware Blockchain v1.6. 

This release is another significant milestone towards VMware’s commitment to solving difficult technical problems and provide robust, enterprise-grade blockchain infrastructure. Specifically, this release delivers complex scalability, recoverability, and data-integrity enhancements for the platform, while adding support for Digital Asset Modeling Language (Daml) 2.0 and improving cloud-native deployments on AWS.

Scalability enhancements 

Enterprise blockchain networks are dynamic by nature. As the value of a particular blockchain ecosystem increases over time, new participants join this network at an increasing rate. Growing the network involves more complexity than just adding nodes to the network in a trusted, authenticated manner. In high-throughput networks where state data is pruned, enabling new nodes to join and being able to instantiate these new nodes with correct, privacy-preserving state information is a difficult task. Starting with v1.6, with the introduction of state snapshots, new client nodes can be added to existing and new client node groups — even when pruning is enabled on the blockchain.

Recoverability and data-integrity enhancements 

Even though the core Byzantine Fault Tolerant (BFT) state machine replication protocol replicates data across 3f+1 replica nodes, it is still practical to protect data on each node for rapid operational recovery, auditing, and disaster-recovery purposes. Starting with v1.6, there are three key enhancements to ensure state data is protected consistently, that state backups are not modified in any way, and that data in full copy clients has the following integrity properties:

  • Improved replica node backup mechanism: The replica-node backup process has been restructured to leverage RocksDB snapshots, enabling the creation of consistent state backups while the blockchain is online and processing transactions. With this redesign, cryptographically signed checkpoints in the BFT state machine replication protocol are used to create state backups.
  • Tamper-resistant backup and restore: To preserve data integrity, backups must be protected against tampering and operators need the ability to verify the integrity of the backups. Replica node backups are now cryptographically signed, allowing operators to ensure backups have not been altered. A signature validation stage precedes the restore process to ensure that only valid backups are used for restoration.
  • Full Copy Client Data Integrity Tool: Users can initiate an integrity check on the data stored on the object store attached to the Full Copy Client. This integrity check provides proof of origination and tamper detection in case of a dispute over historical data or suspicion of a data breach.

Introducing support for Daml 2.0

VMware Blockchain supports out-of-the-box integration with Daml, an open-source system for building full-stack smart-contract-based distributed applications. With VMware Blockchain v1.6, we now support Daml 2.0. This version makes it easier than ever to build and deploy best-in-class, multi-party applications.

AWS deployment enhancements

Providing multi-cloud deployment options is a core tenant of VMware’s mission. To support cases that require an accelerated deployment pathway, our goal is to allow for the replica and client nodes to be distributed on cloud-native instances, as well.

We support VMware Blockchain deployments on vSphere and AWS native.

With v1.6, customers can leverage expansive IAM roles and policies, allowing specific roles to be provided in the deployment descriptor file of the VMware Blockchain Orchestrator. In addition, upgrades on native AWS deployments can be performed using automated clone-based upgrade (using EBS snapshots). In the past, when VMware Blockchain was deployed on AWS native, only the default IAM roles were in use for Replica and Client nodes deployed on the EC2 instances.

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