On Wednesday, October 31, Ripple introduced History Sharding on rippled version 0.90.0. The feature allows individual Ripple servers to store historical data without needing to store the entire history. This will reduce data storage needs for these servers, which can currently be over eight terabytes. The sharding feature will not replace a ledger store. Ripple’s introduction of this feature could be a step towards scaling the blockchain and achieving better results as the number of transactions on the network grow.
Handling Data in Growing Blockchain
As blockchains are being adopted slowly by individual users as well as enterprises, the size of the network is growing continuously. Severs that are responsible for maintaining the network on the XRP Ledger, however, have to store over 8 Terabytes of data to store its full history. As each server has to dedicate tremendous resources to storing the XRP ledger history, the problem could soon blow out of proportion and likely interfere with the efficiency of the blockchain.
To counteract these problems before they take hold, Ripple has introduced history sharding. The company announced in a recent blog post:
“The history sharding feature, enabled in rippled version 0.90.0, addresses this issue by distributing history into segments called shards. A shard contains all of the data for a range of ledgers. Using the history sharding feature, individual rippled servers can contribute to storing historical data without needing to store the entire history.”
How Does Sharding Work?
Instead of replacing the ledger store, sharding creates a path that connects directly to XRP Ledger Network. Hence, the history of the entire network remains intact while servers only agree to maintain shards. The servers confirm “that they have all the data they agreed to maintain and produce proof trees or ledger deltas.”
The shards stored by a server are selected randomly while a normal distribution curve stores the full history of the ledgers. This enables the network to maintain the history evenly.