What is a Data Center?

What is a Data Center?

A data center (also referred to as DC from here on) is a facility to centralize shared IT operations and equipment of an organization. The purpose of a DC is to store, process, and disseminate data and applications. Some of the services – that are usually used by organizations – that a DC can provide are:

  • Storage and management of data
  • Backup and recovery of data
  • Hosting productivity applications (e.g. e-mails)
  • Processing e-commerce transactions in high volumes
  • Powering online gaming servers and communities
  • Doing extremely heavy tasks such as processing big data, training machine learning applications, and processing other types of AI.

Data Center VS Cloud VS Server Farm

Simply put, a data center is an on-premise hardware, storing a company’s data on its own hardware; On the other hand, clouds are off-premise and put your data in a public cloud. Again, oversimplifying the differences, a server farm is like the little sister of a DC. In fact, server farms are nothing more than a collection of servers. They can be either a bitcoin mining site or a small render farm used by a rich freelance 3d artist.

What are the core components of data centers?

A data center is made up of three main components; compute, storage, and network. However, they are just a small part of a modern DC. Beyond the primary components, support infrastructure is an essential part of a DC.

 

Compute

Servers are the heart of a data center; all the computations of different tasks rely on them. A server can be physical, virtualized, distributed across containers, or remote nodes. The design of a server should meet the performance expectations of the task they are supposed to execute. For example, a server that is supposed to run deep learning training tasks needs maximum tensor performance, thus modern GPUs with dedicated tensor acceleration hardware are best suited for the massive amount of matrix multiplication they do. On the other hand, if the server is supposed to run scientific simulations, it’s best suited to boost it with modern CPUs with peak AVX512 performance, meeting the peak accuracy.

Storage

A data center hosts a massive amount of sensitive information, either for the use of itself, or the use of its user. Reliability, speed, and volume are the three main factors to consider when designing the storage of a data center. One DC owner might prioritize one more than another depending on its needs.

However, it is, of course, not a black-and-white option and needs balancing between different options. Software-defined storage (SAS) just as much as other software-defined solutions can help flex the storage a data center to meet different expectations compared to old techs such as storage-area networks (SAN) and network-attached storage (NAS). Software-defined storages are decoupled from the underlying physical hardware, making them as scalable as their software architecture lets them be. As an example, a SAS can be based on container software architectures such as Docker, which is a very flexible platform with advanced features and compatibility with orchestration platforms such as Kubernetes (link to the article) – which is another service provided by GreenWeb+ -.

Network

Finally, the servers of the data center need to connect to each other, and the DC as a whole needs to connect to the outside world. Here comes the networking. The equipment of a network includes routers, firewalls, switches, and cabling. A properly designed and structured network is expected to manage high volumes of traffic without failing and without performance hits. One of the typical topologies used in DC networks is known as three-tier topology. There is the access layer where the server is residing and the core layer that connects servers to each other. There is a middle aggregate layer that connects the core layer to the access layer. And in the end, there are switches at the edge, connecting the data center to the internet.

Hyperscale network security and software-defined networking can bring the scalability and agility of cloud networks to on-premises networks. Letting them get scaled appropriately as demand increases, and even furthermore, adding container orchestration on top just like how it can be done to the storage device of the DC.

Support Infrastructure

Protecting data centers from all types of vulnerabilities is beyond important as there are critical assets and data stored and getting computed in them. Thus they need a reliable support infrastructure made up of power safety components and ambient control systems. A power safety infrastructure is made up of high-capacity power subsystems, uninterruptible power supplies(UPS) to protect them against irregular voltages, and backup generators for power shortages. The ambient control system must include ventilation and cooling systems, as well as protections such as passive and active fire protection /suppression systems and building security systems.

There exist industry standards for support infrastructures of data centers from organizations such as TIA (Telecommunication Industry Association) and Uptime Institute. These standards will be helpful in the design, construction, and maintenance of their facilities.

Security

Building security systems –discussed above – are not enough for supporting a data center facility. A DC network requires a zero-trust analysis incorporated into its design. firewalls and web application firewalls (WAF), data access controls, Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS), and Web Application & API Protection (WAAP) systems are important parts of the security facility. They need to be specified properly to ensure their scale meets the demands of the data center.

In case your data center is supposed to use a third-party storage provider (such as cloud services providers), it is important to understand the security measures of the third party. You have to invest as much as needed to achieve the highest possible level of security. The information needs to be kept safe.

How do data centers work?

A data center contains multiple physical or virtual servers that are connected together either internally and or externally through networking and communication equipment. They communicate with each other to access, transfer, and store digital information. Each server is equipped with a processor, storage space, and memory, kind of similar to a personal computer but at a much larger scale. A data center uses software to cluster and in some cases, distribute the server workload across multiple servers.

Basically, a data center is supposed to run applications that are too heavy for a personal computer and even a single server. Over-simplifying, they are one extremely big powerful computer. Although they are used to run specific applications, such as big data processing, AI machine learning training, scientific simulations, and hosting large-scale e-commerce websites and online games, they also have to run their own services. DC services are typically deployed to protect the performance and integrity of the core components of them. We can usually put these services into two general categories.

Network security system

DC network security is the support systems that keep data center operations, applications, and data, safe from threats. These systems appear to be both physical –such as HW firewalls and physical gates in the data center’s physical location- and digital –such as data encryption software and SW firewalls-.

firewall

A firewall is a filtering device that separates LAN segments, giving each segment a different security level and establishing a security perimeter that controls the traffic flow between segments [1]. Firewalls are mostly at the internet edge of the network (where the local network meets the global internet) to act as a gate. That is because the internal network is mostly secure, while the internet is an unsecured area of the network; Thus this design lets the firewall meets its main goal, separating the secure and insecure parts of the network. A slow firewall can bottleneck the whole internet connection of the network, so they are expected to have high-performance capabilities.

IDS

Intrusion Detection System or in short, IDS, is a real-time system that detects intruders, as well as suspicious activities among the network, and reports them to a monitoring system. They also expected to block and mitigate intrusions in progress and immunize the system against future similar attacks. IDSs have two main components: Sensors and IDS management. Sensors are the software agents that analyze the traffic on the network and the utilization of the data center resources. Then comes the IDS management system that is supposed to administer and configure the sensors. They are also supposed to collect all the alarm information generated by sensors and log them. Basically, sensors are like surveillance tools and IDSs are like the monitoring room and the control center.

Security – as much as other segments of the article – deserves a dedicated article to discuss different aspects. Security starts from the management of the data center owner company /organization, continues with physical protections, and ends with cyber security both physically using hardware, and virtually using software.

Application delivery assurance system

An application delivery assurance system (ADAS) is a network appliance that is used to ensure that the demand of the user of the data center is met. This system includes various mechanisms to provide resiliency and availability. All these are done via automatic failover and load balancing.

Consolidation

Data center consolidation refers to strategies and technologies that are useful for the optimization of the efficiency of IT architectures involved in the DC. Consolidation can be done either physically – by consolidating multiple DCs together – or making a single data center run more effectively and use fewer resources.

Different goals can be achieved using DC consolidation; such goals can be: finite data storage resources, legacy systems that had the potential to improve, and many many more.

Why are data centers important?

Data centers are the infrastructure of almost all important services that are useful to humanity in the 21st century. They support nearly every single computation, data storage, network, and business application for the enterprise. It is so important for businesses that run on computers that the data center itself is the business.

Use cases of data centers

One of the most important parts of an enterprise is its data center. They are supporting business applications and provide all kinds of digitizable services including but not limited to:

Data

There are a lot of data centers specifically designed for data storage. Cloud storage services such as Google Drive, Apple’s iCloud, DropBox, Microsoft OneDrive, and many more are some examples of data centers being used for data storage and management. They are used either for file sharing or saving up space on local storage and also for backup and recovery.

Productivity applications

Applications such E-Mail services (Gmail, Outlook, etc.), social networks (Instagram, YouTube, etc.), messengers (WhatsApp, Signal, etc.), and a lot more categories of productivity applications run their host application on a data center. The massive amount of data being transferred every moment and the massive amount of online processing needed for most of those data demands a high-end data center to not fail the demand of the end user. Thus DCs are almost the best solution for them.

E-Commerce

A small-sized or medium-sized e-commerce business may not need a data center and probably a cloud server is more than enough for them. But for larger scales of this business, using data is not only preferred but is a necessity. The client might regret using the application if it’s slow, buggy, or even worse, unstable. So a performant data center that is trustable and has minimal downtime is a must for large-scale e-commerce businesses such as Amazon.

Online Games

Some online games can use their players’ computers as distributed host servers instead of data center. But this is only possible when the developer is sure that most computers can handle the hosting. So lightweight games such as Dota2 can do this, but more demanding games such as Call of Duty® Modern Warfare 2 cannot do this.

Such games need to get optimized – performance-wise – as much as possible to make sure the player is experiencing a smooth gameplay. So adding the processing power required for the host application on top is a wrong decision. Also, this game has a massive amount of players simultaneously playing the game. On the other hand, the smallest amount of latency difference can make the gameplay unfair and make the player leave the game for the better. So having a high-performance data center that is distributed around the world – to ensure the ping is uniform across the world – is an exceptional importance for the developer to ensure the players keep playing their game.

Big data and AI

Big data is data that has these three specifications: big Variety, big Volume, and big Velocity (aka. The 3 Vs). Big data uses vary depending on if it is used by a business, an organization, or a government. No matter the use case, they are always too heavy to be handled by anything other than data centers. Businesses usually need to analyze these data to better understand the consumers, their needs, their feedback, and how they use their products. While organizations might use them for forecasting, finding specific information lying within a massive amount of random data, medical purposes, and more.

Artificial Intelligence, specifically machine learning, can benefit a lot from big data analysis in data centers. So there is a strong relationship between the two. Machine learning can get fed by big data to understand the tasks that it is supposed to do. While in the opposite direction, big data analysis can be accelerated marginally using artificial intelligence.

What are the types of data centers?

The design of data centers is like fingerprints! No two of them are alike neither in design nor in the applications and data they support with their networking, computing, and storage infrastructure. However, here in this article, we will find out the top five most common types of data centers.

Enterprise

A private data center facility that is supposed to support a single organization; is an enterprise data center. These types of DCs are best suited for companies that either have unique demands from their DC, or ones that do enough business to take advantage of vertical economic models. The most important benefit of enterprise DCs is that they are fully customizable to meet the needs and demands of the company owning them. The white space (IT equipment and infrastructure) of these DCs are typically managed by the in-house IT department and only the grey space (back-end DC components and equipment) are out-source-able.

Colocational

Colocational data centers are also known as multi-tenant data centers. They offer the service to businesses that want to host their servers offsite. Companies that provide colocational DCs provide the proper components – cooling, power, networking, and security – that are needed for hosting the DC as well.

These kinds of DC are mostly suitable for businesses that do not have their own space for an enterprise one. The reason is either space limits, or HR limits (not having a big enough IT department to dedicate a team for the management of the data center). Colocational DCs allow such businesses to redirect financial and personnel resources to other companies. They are especially useful for businesses that need their data center to be distributed across the globe, such as online game developers.

Hyperscale

As the name suggests, these are designed to support very large-scale IT infrastructures. They are a rarer kind of data center, and only a handful of 700 hyperscale data centers exist in the world. Although they are limited in number, their power is comparable to a much larger group of non-hyperscale DCs working together. A typical data center has at least 5,000 servers, and 1000m2 of floor space. Like enterprise ones, these are also owned and operated by the first-party company.

Edge & Micro

These types of data centers are small and close to the users. They are supposed to handle real-time data processing, and analysis, and execute the required actions. The structure of this design makes low-latency communication with smart devices and IoT possible.

Modular or Container

A modular data center is a module or a shipping container packaged with plug-and-play, ready-made DC components. The components of such package must include servers, storage, networking equipment, power equipment, security equipment, environment condition controlling systems, and more. They are usually used in construction sites or disaster areas. But they are also used on permanent sites. They will allow organizations to scale their already existing data center quickly to meet the increasing demand.

Conclusion

While technology is growing faster than ever, a large IT-relevant business can demand much more than what a typical cloud may be able to provide in a near future. Thus we, GreenWeb+, decided to provide solutions to those businesses and make the implementation of their data center easier. We provide various types of services for you and your business, making it possible for companies even with small IT teams, to have their own on-premise data center.

 

 

What is WordPress?

What is WordPress?

It’s a free and open-source system for content management. Using WordPress is the easiest and the most popular way to create and manage your website or blog. In fact, 43.3 percent of all website on the internet is powered by WordPress. This means that in each 5 websites, at least 2 of them are made with WordPress. This software is licensed under GPLv2, which means anyone can use or modify the WP software for free and even better, everyone can benefit from it as it stays free forever.

A content management system is a tool to simplify tasks such as managing, maintaining, adding, removing, moving, editing, etc. of a website. This is done by providing a GUI (Graphical User Interface) and removing the need for CLI (Command Line Interface) and or coding or programming knowledge.

The end result is that with WordPress, anyone can build their own website without having any knowledge about web development languages (e.g. HTML, CSS, JS, PHP, etc.).

People can make several online services with this software such as Business websites, e-commerce stores, Blogs, Portfolios, Resumes, Forums, Social networks, Membership sites, and just pretty much everything.

Why WordPress?

As already said, more than 40% percent all the websites are using WordPress. Well-known companies and organizations such as Microsoft and White House included. But why? Why should you use it?

First off, WordPress obviously is not your only choice. Like any software category, it has a competition. You might or might not be familiar with names like Joomla, Shopify, Magento, Wix, and Weebly; All of these are considerable as the competitors of WordPress. Each of which has their own benefits and special tools. Some of them have an specific purpose (like Shopify and Magento which or specifically made to be used for building eCommerce website) but the rest are generalized. But this article is about WordPress why should you choose it over all the other alternatives mentioned above.

 

It is free and Open Source

Most open source projects are free, WordPress included. The liberated nature of open source softwares makes their community passionate for helping each other, helping the development of the software, and making useful free plug-ins. This is the open source culture. As said, WordPress is free to download but it is a self-hosting software. So you will most probably end up paying for a plan which begins from only 3 dollars per month and can go up to hundreds of dollars. The plan entirely depends on your needs. Are you ok with a really cheap shared server or you need the ultimate power and speed?

It is ready to build all types of websites

Unfortunately, there is a misconception about WordPress. Some people think it is mainly for building blogs. In fact, it was true in the past. But then it drastically changed with the various releases over the years.

Actually, the fact that it was a blogging software in its roots makes it much easier for bloggers to use it. It is by far one the cleanest, fastest ways to write and publish blog posts. And this is all included in the software from the beginning. The list of the types of websites you can make with WordPress is endless. But anyway, here is a list of some of the popular ones:

  • Blogs
  • Business websites
  • Portfolios
  • Forums
  • E-Commerce websites
  • Rating websites
  • Membership websites
  • Chatrooms
  • E-Learning modules
  • Job boards
  • Galleries
  • Business directories
  • Q&A websites
  • Personal websites
  • Auction and coupon websites
  • Wikis and knowledge bases
  • Media-centric websites / online apps

The list is long, but we will stop here to avoid making it possibly boring. Good news is that most of the functionalities and themes you need for things such as forums and e-Commerce websites are achievable easily thank to plug-ins.

 

 

It supports numerous media types

Feel free to check out the endless list of supported file types for WordPress(link the underlined to: https://en.support.wordpress.com/accepted-filetypes/ ). Most types of images (jpeg, gif, png, webp, …), videos (mp4, mpg, avi, mov, …), Audios (mp3, m4a, ogg, wav), and documents (doc, pdf, ppt, xls, odt) are supported.

It is easy to learn

As said, WordPress is an open source software with a huge a community of professional and passionate users. The pricing, premium customer support, or even expertise level have no bearing on the user base. You can find all kind of users in the community, help them, and receive their helps.

The user interface is easy and clean enough for anyone to play around for 10 minutes in the dashboard and start to understand how it generally works. But sure, if you want to become a professional user, there are plenty of things to learn. Since there are not many roadblocks to gaining access to the software, users have made a plenty of platforms to connect, teach, and learn, such as blogs, forums, online courses, seminars, webinars, and books; Outlining various aspects of the WordPress platform. In addition, there is the official customer support from the software itself. You can either pay an extra for a dedicated support or walk through WordPress forums and enjoy the community’s passion for helping each other.

It has plenty of and plugins to expand and scale up your website

It is said already that how many WordPress themes and plugins are there for its users to construct a website. But these elements can also help you to scale up your website just as much. For a standard blog, you will start by install a theme, then you may further adjust the design. After that, you can start blogging. The same workflow is applicable for business websites, portfolios, and most other types of websites.

So themes are usually considered as the foundation of the websites. Thus after applying them, the designing part of your website should be minimalized to limited tasks such as color changes, logo additions, and creating new pages and blog posts.

Yet, every once in a while, you may find out that your website needs something new to be added to it. In such situations, the vast amount of plugins made by the big community of this open source software will help you to add those features as easy as possible.

Most people are using it

What? I should jump of the bridge with them? Well, one thing is clear: “Just because everyone is doing something it does not mean it is the best thing to do”. Yes, but WordPress proved itself several times in its history. The word has gotten out about its features and pros all over the Web devs community. High performance, extremely expandable, and easy to use. There should be a reason why 43.3 percent of the websites are running on WordPress. Some of which are discussed already.

Most of the expert WordPress users always praise its developers for how constantly they update and improve it. And there is always a detailed patch note for every update to let you know how it can improve your experience

WordPress.com VS WordPress.org?

Simply put, WordPress.com is a simplified version of WordPress.org. The .org one provides advanced customization and monetization options. While the .com one gives users a quick and easy way to get started; For free which then can be expanded with custom paid options as they grow. But to dive deeper, here is a comparison table:

  WordPress.org WordPress.com
Monetization Allowed Sometimes allowed
WordPress shares content No Yes
Self-Hosted Yes No

 

Final words

WordPress is a jack of all trades master ALL. Thus Green plus chose it as a general approach for the ones who need a website building software. GreenWeb’s WordPress cloud service is an automated platform that can build and manage your website with a few simple clicks. This means that you need no coding knowledge at all. Thanks to this service, again with a few simple clicks, you can choose your preferred domain and template and start your online business. After that, you can leave the technical management to us and keep focusing on your business.

No matter if you just want your personal website without wanting bother learning the how-tos or you are a professional who makes websites for others. Or maybe you already have your website? You can always benefit from this platform. The users of this service are generally in two categories:

Beginners, making personal websites

For these people, Green plus’s WordPress service is the best choice. This platform allows them to build their website with minimal knowledge and minimal time consumption. They can easily choose their desired template from and build their website as fast as possible.

 

Pros making website for others, or the ones who already have their own

The type of hosting and the effectiveness of that host play a significant role in optimizing a website’s speed. This aspect is much more crucial for websites using WordPress. Therefore, if the host works on improving WordPress’ performance, the change will be much more apparent than if it is done on only one side.

The performance improvement provided embedding WordPress through the cloud host, two important aspects of your website will benefit largely.

  • Up to 5 percent increase in conversion rate
  • Up to 30 percent increase in the interaction rate of the users of the website, resulting in:
    1. Satisfaction of users
    2. More income
    3. Higher chance of a user revisiting the website

So by using Green plus’s WordPress cloud service, you will either simplify the process or optimize your website, or even both.

Kubernetes VS Docker

 

What is the difference between Kubernetes(K8s) and Docker? Are they generally doing the same thing, or they are two different services? We will start the comparison by a brief description of what each of them does. The latter is a containerization platform and runtime. On the other hand, K8s is a platform to run and manage containers from several container runtimes. It supports a large variety of container runtimes.

This comparison may not make sense for some people. It is like comparing a driver with their car. We cannot say which one is better than the other and we cannot talk about their pros and cons. Because such comparison wouldn’t make sense. But what if someone who is not familiar (e.g. an alien) with the two asks us to compare the two for them? Now you should clarify their differences and say why they are two different things and why they are not comparable with the mentioned method. With the given example, now it may make more sense to put Kubernetes vs Docker.

Docker has provided the first container platform with a computing model based on micro-services. Like other containers, this one is not dependent on any operating system. Instead, it works with scalable microservices that allows teams to declaratively package an application, it’s dependencies, and configurations together as a single container image.

But like everything – specially in tech – applications grew in complexity and demanded distribution of their container across multiple servers. Thus made various challenges such as coordination and scheduling of multiple containers, enabling communication between them, scaling individual instances of the container, and maybe more. The solution then came up under the name of “Container Orchestration”. One of such services is Kubernetes. The free and open-source dominator of the market, and the brain of a lot of containerized applications. To add more details into the description, let’s check the definition of each of them individually in the context.

What is Docker?

As said, and in short, it is a containerization platform and runtime that lets developers build, deploy, and run containers with a fluid workflow. A developer can create a container without using this specific platform just as well. But using it makes doing so much easier and faster. Unlike Kubernetes, it is a commercial application and the source code is not open. The architecture used by Docker is a client-server architecture with simple commands and automation through a single API.

This platform provides a toolkit that can be used to package your applications into immutable container images. It does that by writing a Dockerfile and then running the needed commands to build the image using its own server. After making the images, the developer can then deploy and run them on any platform that supports containers, such as K8s, Swarm, HashiCorp Nomad, or Mesos.

The platforms mentioned in the previous paragraph are the ones that can help users/developers manage their containers better, faster, and easier.

 

 

What is Kubernetes?

Kuberenetes is the most popular platform for container orchestration. It is an open-source runtime system that can be used across a cluster of networked resources. It is not necessary to use Docker when using K8s as it can be used with any compatible containerized application.

Originally developed by Google, it is now continuing its development thanks to Cloud Native Computing Foundation (or CNCF for short). Google needed a new way to run billions of containers every week, thus they came up with solution that we now as Kubernetes nowadays after they made it open-source in 2014. The main goal of this widely used platform as said by google is: “to make it easy to deploy and manage complex distributed systems, while still benefiting from improved utilization that containers enable.”

With this container orchestration platform, one can bundle a set of containers into a group called a container set, then let it manage them. K8s manages the container set on the same machine to reduce network overhead and increase the efficiency of the utilization of resources.

This platform is especially useful for DevOps teams. As it offers service discovery, load balancing per cluster, automatic rollbacks and rollouts, self-healing of failed containers, and configuration management. Besides, one can say it is a critical tool to build a robust DevOps CI/CD pipeline.

Why Docker?

Development teams are usually changing in a constant manner, a developer comes, another one goes. Environments can be changing as well; What if you want to run your app in two different environments or even more? Even the software itself! It constantly grows with new features and improvements. And finally, the users of your software. So from the deep in the water to the very surface of it – the users – everything needs to be flexible, scalable, and compatible. What if one says there is a single solution for all of these challenges?

Constant changes in the development team

It takes time for a new comer developer to get familiar with project and the workflow. They also have to set up their local environment for the project before they can start coding. Setting up a local server and a database, installing third-party libraries, and more tasks depending on the project, are time consuming tasks that can take from a few hours to many days, depending on the scale of the project. Thanks to Docker, most of these processes or possibly even all of them can be automated. With this platform, the frustration of early days of entering a new project will be replaced by productivity from the very early days.

Running your software across multiple environments

Your software is probably running at least, on two different environments. One is the developers’ computers, and the other one is a server. Even in such a simple case, inconsistent behavior of the app between the two environments can be noticed easily. Something may work on a developer’s machine, but not on the server. And the issues will increase linearly with the number of various environments it will run on. Imagine a developer using a distribution of GNU/Linux, another one using Windows 11, and then there is a test server and a production server. The environment variation grows easier than one may anticipate. With Docker, the app can run isolated from the environment, in its own container, not caring what is going on in the outside world. Just working in a consistent, predictable way regardless of the environment.

Expanding and improving your application

The development team requires to add new libraries, services, and other dependencies to the software almost every day. Thus making your software more and more complex in a daily manner. Making it harder to keep track of all its parts that are required for it to run. All these changes have to be communicated to other developers and should be documented. But Docker removes such extra processes by making all the dependencies embedded with the software by integrating them in the container.

There are a lot more benefits from using this platform, which deserves a separate article and cannot be discussed here as a whole. Some reasons to avoid as well, of course. But continuing on,

Why Kubernetes?

While containerization of your application (either manually, or using a containerization platform) can make it more scalable, more flexible, and easier to develop across multiple environments, there remains some other challenges that the development team should struggle with and overcome. Challenges such as management and scaling of the containerized applications (microservices). Kubernetes, as an automation /- orchestration platform for containers, can be the answer to most of the remaining challenges.

Automating Operations

Kubernetes has a powerful API and CLI tool, called KubeCTL. It handles a bulk of heavy lifting that goes into container management by letting the development team to automate their operations. The controller pattern makes sure that applications and containers run exactly as specified.

Abstracting Infrastructure

K8s takes responsibility for management of the resources available to it. This lets developers focus more on designing, programming, and writing codes for the application rather than spending time on the underlying compute, networking, and storage infrastructure.

Monitoring the Health of the Service

Kubernetes not only takes care of the resource management, but also monitors and manages the running environment. By comparing the monitored data against the desired state, it then performs automated health checks. After that, if it finds a problem, it will restart the container that have failed or stopped working. This platform makes services available only when they are running and are ready.

Kubernetes VS Docker: Which one is right for you?

Docker also has its own orchestration system called Swarm. The problem is that by using this system, you are limited to one specific containerization platform while Kubernetes doesn’t have this limitation. So considering that Docker has its own exclusive alternative to K8s, which one is right for you?

Docker is simpler to setup and configure compared to Kubernetes. But that is only important when you are building your own infrastructure as a third-party provider such Green Plus will do these for you already. Aside from that, it offers the same benefits as K8s, such as deploying your application through declarative YAML files, automatically scaling services to your desired state, load balancing across containers within a cluster, and security / access control across your services. There are various minor differences in how the two orchestration systems do these tasks and some different special features for each.

On the other hand, Kubernetes takes more time and effort to setup in the beginning but it worth the greater flexibility and features. In addition to the wider support thanks to its open source community. K8s supports multiple deployment strategies by default, is able to manage a network’s ingress, and also provides observability for the containers out of the box. All major cloud vendors such as IBM, and most of the rest of service providers such as Green Plus, offer managed Kubernetes services. This can be a huge skip forward in your timeline and lets you utilize the orchestration platform without wasting time on setting it up and configuring it.

Unless you have to make your infrastructure by yourself and you are sure that Docker is the only containerization platform you need in the long term, there is no reason to hold yourself back by using Swarm.

You can use Green Plus’s cloud servers with the integrated Kubernetes feature that lets you use the server with Kubernetes already enabled and ready to use with near zero additional effort.

Blockchain for Supply Chain

What is Blockchain – in short?

According to IBM (link to: https://www.ibm.com/topics/what-is-blockchain), “Blockchain is a shared, immutable ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets in a business network. An asset can be tangible (e.g. a house, car, cash, land, etc.) or intangible (e.g. intellectual property, patents, copyrights, branding, etc.).” Blockchain (aka DLT – Distributed Ledger Technology) technology can be used to track and trade anything of value, making it very useful for supply chains. Using DLT while cutting costs for everyone involved in a transaction, reduces possible risks in as well.

To begin discussing what are the benefits of using this technology for supply chains, we need to understand the key features of it. Then we can go further and relate them to the demands of a supply chain control and management system.

Distributed ledger technology

A ledger is a record-keeping system that records transactions for various user accounts. When the word “distributed” is attached to it, it means that all users have access to a copy of it. In other words, all participants of the Blockchain network can access the distributed ledger and the immutable record of transactions it keeps stored.

Immutable records

No one can alter or amend a transaction once it has been added to the distributed ledger. Thus improving security and accuracy. In the case of an error happening in a record, a new transaction must be added to reverse the error, while still both transactions are being kept in the ledger and are visible.

Smart contracts

A smart contract is a set of rules stored on a Distributed Ledger, defining conditions for transactions (e.g. terms for travel insurance payments). It will get executed automatically on demand.

How does Blockchain work

Blockchain’s goal is to let digital information be recorded and distributed, but not edited. It is the foundation for immutable ledgers which will not get altered or deleted. Hence why it is also called Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT).

The process of a transaction

When a new transaction enters the network, some process has to be done in order to execute and record the transaction. First, it will get transmitted to a peer-to-peer network of computers. The network will then process and validate the transaction. After the validation and confirmation, the transaction is done but it needs to be recorded. Thus several transactions will be clustered together into blocks; Next, the blocks will make a chain, consisting of the whole history of transactions of the network. And here it ends.

How does transparency work in Blockchain?

As Distributed Ledger Technology (likely the name suggests too) is a decentralized network, all transactions can be easily visible to any user using either a personal node or a Blockchain explorer (such as Blockchain.com, Block cypher, Token view, etc.). Of course, exchanges have been hacked in the past, where a Bitcoin owner lost all of their credits. Although one might never find the hacker as the users are always anonymous (only the owner of a record can know the identity using a public/private key pair), the extracted Bitcoins are easily traceable. So the hacked Bitcoins cannot be spent easily as the target wallet will be known.

How Blockchain achieves security?

There are in fact, several ways that Blockchain achieves security and trust. One of which is the fact that new blocks are stored in a linear and chronological way. So the new ones are always added to the end of the chain of blocks. After that, it is extremely difficult to go back and alter the content of a block. One possible case to alter a block is if the majority of the network has reached a consensus to do it.

DLT ensures that it is almost impossible to edit the blocks by using hashes. A is a string of numbers and letters, made by a mathematical function from digital information. So, the algorithm gets the data block, executes the function, and then outputs a hash. Hashes are like a fingerprint, each data/ digital information has its unique hash that even with the smallest change in the data, changes entirely. The mathematical function is irreversible, making it impossible to reverse the process and make a new file with the same hash.

Each block stores its own hash and the hash of its previous block, along with the aforementioned timestamps. Then if someone changes a block, it makes an inconsistency in the hashes, causing the network to find the problem, making the edited copy of it illegitimate.

There is only one way a hacker can edit and alter a Distributed Ledger and that is to have access and control to at least 50% + 1 of the copies of the DLT so they can make a consensus in the network. But now they also have to redo the entirety of the block because now the timestamps and hashes are inconsistent across the network. Making it a nonsense hack that needs more money being paid that possibly being stolen.

Blockchain for supply chain

A supply chain usually consists of manufacturers, suppliers, logistics companies, and in the end, retailers. All these parts work together for the goal of delivering products to consumers. As technology grows, all of the industries that technology can be useful for them grow as well. Resulting in more complexity as they can rely more on technology for the challenges they may face. A supply chain is not an exception. Usually, traditional supply chains use paper-based disjointed data systems. As it is probably obvious, this leads to data silos which makes product tracking a very slow process. Not only that, but it also lacks traceability and transparency; an industry-wide problem resulting in errors, delays, and increased costs.

Modern supply chains – in order to overcome these challenges – let their participants have a unified view of data and at the same time, verify transactions (such as production and transport updates) privately and independently.

Green plus’s Blockchain-based supply chain solution provides end-to-end visibility needed by modern supply chains. This solution helps them track and trace their entire production process with a mostly automated and highly efficient system.

What is Track and Trace?

In the supply chain industry, Track and Trace means identifying the location history and the current location, as well as the product custody history for all product inventories. This process is done by tracking the product in a long and complex pipeline starting from the raw materials, going into various geographic regions, having different processes and manufacturing steps, continuing on with regulatory controls, and ending with retailers, giving the product to consumers. This is where Blockchain has the biggest benefit for the supply chain management.

How Blockchain will radically improve Supply Chain Management

Normally, as said above, there are a lot of problems regarding the accessibility of data, continuity of it, reliability, and security of it to not get changed or tampered without being recorded, besides the obvious problem, lack of speed and efficiency.

With DLT though, almost all of the aforementioned problems will be gone for good. The transactions, no matter who is the participant, can be done and then recorded directly from themselves via a peer-to-peer network. So there is no need for a central authority to manage and verify every single transaction.

Speed and efficiency

The removal of central authority on its own, increases the efficiency as the process of a transaction will change from:

ask the authority -> authority checks it -> authority executes -> authority records it -> authority gives the participant the report of the transaction to:

ask the Blockchain network -> it then network checks, executes, records, and reports at the same time at a glance.

Accuracy and security

The removal of middlemen as a side effect reduces the risk of human errors, unnecessary changes, and intentional tampering. Which might be even more beneficial to the supply chain than the increased speed.

With Distributed Ledger Technology, a single shared ledger can be used to document production updates. It provides complete visibility of data, on a single source of truth. This source of truth is trustworthy as it is automated to just do the job, and is transparent and records everything. It is the most accurate way of recording as of now because transactions always include necessary metadata such as time stamps, location, etc. while happening in real-time; So the records are always up to date, avoiding duplicated actions. This helps avoid issues such as counterfeit goods, compliance violations, waste, and delays.

Error reduction

The real-time nature of the management system makes it possible to take immediate action on large scales during an emergency. This happens while regulatory compliance is ensured by the ledger audit trail automatically.

All possible errors are reversible while being recorded as well as their reverse transaction. So if someone makes an error and even if they fix it, all the records are visible and the necessary following action can be taken.

Blockchain use cases in supply chain

Even though right now there are only a handful of examples in long supply chains for this technology, there is an increasing number of investigations for use cases of it in supply chain management, including:

Supply chain finance

Using Blockchain in the field of supply chain finance can increase the efficiency of invoice processing. It provides more transparent and secure transactions. Usually, it takes around 30 days or even much longer for an invoice payment to get completed. By using Distributed Ledger Technology’s smart contracts, this time-consuming task will become immediate as soon as the product is delivered and signed for payment.

Supply chain logistics

Normally, there is massive friction in a modern supply chain regarding the go-betweens and back-and-forth between partners. In fact, all parties should interact via a third-party central authority rather than directly. DLT helps the logistics of a supply chain by verifying, recording, and coordinating all transactions automatically without the involvement of third-party authority. Thus eliminating an entire layer of complexity from global supply chains.

Supplier payments

As American Express says, “Blockchain technology promises to facilitate fast, secure, low-cost international payment processing services through the use of encrypted distributed ledgers that provide trusted real-time verification of transactions without the need for intermediaries such as correspondent banks and clearing houses.”. So yes, not only DLT eliminates the need for a third-party authority in the logistics, but also the same is right for payments.

Yet as this is a fairly new method of payment, one might not trust it just for the sake of their feeling. Thus giving an example can be helpful here. One of the examples is within the coffee industry. Bext360 is using the Distributed Ledger Technology to boost its supply chain productivity. By using this technology for supplier payment, they can better track all elements of their worldwide coffee trade – beginning with the farmer and ending with the consumer-. This way it is possible to directly and immediately pay the farmers as soon as the product is sold.

Cold chain traceability

Foods and pharmaceuticals need special treatments in shipping and storage. DLT paired with the Internet of Things (IoT) and sensors attached to products, can record vibration, humidity, temperature, and many other environmental metrics.

Using this combination, the data traced by the IoT sensors can then be stored in the Blockchain. Next, the network will apply a smart contract, which lets it automatically redress if any of the readings get out of range.

Food safety

Continuing on from the previous paragraph’s subject, the improved traceability helps protect products more efficiently and more easily. Without DLT+IoT, many food safety issues, such as cross-contamination, can occur and get noticed when it is too late; Thus no action can be taken to stop the growing problem. It results in a lot of waste and delays. Even more importantly, it can be problematic to a company’s reputation.

Thanks to the DLT-IoT combination provided by Green plus, implemented sensors can react to environmental abnormalities faster than the food product itself, letting the managers of the supply chain prevent further corruption of their products as soon as ever before.

Conclusion

Green plus provides the aforementioned technology as well as a variety of other technologies for the technological infrastructure of the supply chain of your company. You can use our Blockchain-IoT service for the finances, logistics, payments, and product monitoring of your supply chain, improving both the quality and efficiency of the process. You can also use our HyperLedger Fabric service integrated into our cloud servers to manipulate the problems of public Blockchain servers. Also, you can embed Kubernetes to your server effortlessly and make the complexity of your applications used in the supply chain simpler to manage and handle.

Blockchain in a supply chain, while improving security and reliability along with transparency and traceability, can also affect other aspects of the process positively. Aspects such as time efficiency, payment security and financial efficiency, correction and reduction of errors, monitoring the products and preventing problems before them happening, and many more to be found out.

 

 

 

 

 

What is Kubernetes? | green plus

kubernetes

What is Kubernetes?

In simple words, Kubernetes (aka. K8s) automates many of the processes involved in deploying, managing, and scaling containerized applications. But that’s what it does and not what it is. In fact, Kubernetes is an open-source container orchestration platform. This means it helps the organization/company to cluster together groups of hosts running Linux® containers and manage them easily and efficiently. This may answer one or two of your questions, but no you probably ended up having more questions at this point. Here are some of them that we assumed the reader needs the answer to.

What is a Kubernetes cluster?

A set of nodes that run containerized applications. Containerized applications are applications that run in a container (isolated runtime environments). These isolated environments encapsulate an application with all its dependencies, including system libraries, binaries, and config files. Containers are more lightweight and flexible than virtual machines. Thus if the containerized applications use Kubernetes, development, movement, and management of the applications can become much easier.

Kubernetes clusters let containers run across multiple machines in different environments – such as physical, cloud-based, virtual, and on-premises. K8s containers – unlike virtual machines – are not limited to a specific operating system. They can share operating systems across machines and run on various operating systems simultaneously.

The structure of Kubernetes clusters

API server: It exposes a REST interface to all the resources. In other words, it is the front end of the K8s control panel.

Scheduler: Checks the required resources and metrics of each container and places them accordingly. Checks Pods to ensure that they are assigned to a node. If not, it will select the nodes for them so they can run on them.

Controller manager: Runs controller processes. Reconciles the cluster’s initial state with its desired specifications. And manages controllers such as replication controllers, node controllers, and endpoint controllers.

Kubelet: Makes sure that each container is running in a Pod. This is done by an interaction with the Docker Engine. Docker Engine is the default program for creating and managing containers. We won’t dive too deep into this process as it makes the article complicated and is not relevant enough to the title anyway.

Kube-proxy: Maintains network rules across nodes and manages network connectivity. It implements the “Kubernetes Service” concept in all nodes of the cluster.

ETCD: Stores all the data of a given cluster.

What is container orchestration?

Containerized workloads and services require a lot of operational effort to run well. With container orchestration, a big part of the required work to run such services will be automated. Without that, those works should be done manually; which takes more time, more human resources, and more money.

Containers are ephemeral. Running them in production can easily become a challenge due to the high amount of required effort. If one pairs them with micro-services – which usually run in their own individual containers – this can easily lead to having a big tree of thousands of nested containers. This can be the main reason why a large-scale system needs to automate tasks such as the management and scaling of containerized applications. Kubernetes is one of the best solutions for this problem. And here is why:

Why should we use Container Orchestration?

Simply saying, the key to working with containers is container orchestration. With it, an organization can unlock the full benefit of containers. In addition to this benefit, orchestration has its own benefits as well:

Simplifying the operations: Literally the most important benefit of container orchestration and the main reason why Kubernetes adopted it. As said, the amount of complexity containers have is not controllable without orchestrating them.

Boosting resilience: Orchestrating containers allows them to automatically restart or scale (up or down), increasing the resilience of them significantly.

Adding more security: The automatic nature of container orchestration allows containerized applications to get rid of human errors by eliminating the need for manual management of the container. Thus increasing security and stability.

What are containers?

Containers are a method to build, package, and deploy softwares. Although they are not exactly the same thing, they are still similar to virtual machines (VMs) regarding their use case. One of the most important differences is the fact that containers are isolated and abstracted away from the infrastructure and the underlying operating system that they are running on. Or in simpler terms, a container, in addition to the application itself, also includes everything that the code requires to run properly. This is how it is isolated from the OS and the rest of the infrastructure.

But why do we have to do such a thing? Well, this isolation has several benefits which some of them are:

Portability: As you might already have guessed, the main benefit and the main reason to use containers is that they make the application portable. They are built to run in any environment. This makes containerized apps and workloads easier to move between different cloud platforms. One of the ways it achieves this simplicity is that there is no need to rewrite a large part of the application in order to port it to a new operating system and or a new cloud platform. In fact, the application does not care that much about the platform as it is isolated from it anyway.

Simplifying the development: Containers remove the need to ensure that the application is compatible and works properly across all platforms. This saves a lot of time for developers, letting them spend it on the core of the application. And making it easier and faster to patch issues and merge pulls without making extra development branches for each platform.

Reducing resource utilization and Optimizing the execution: As said, containers are lightweight. It allows a single machine to solely run many of them at the same time. Saving resources and optimizing the execution of the app.

Kubernetes advantages

Kubernetes is all about optimization. By automating many of the DevOps processes, it gets rid of the necessity of manually doing them. K8s services provide load balancing and simplification of container management on multiple hosts. It makes it easy for an enterprise to provide wider scalability, more flexibility, and better portability for its apps. By its automatically managed containerization, it saves the time of the software developers to better it spend for productive development.

In fact, after Linux, Kubernetes is the fastest-growing open-source software project in history (link to https://www.cncf.io/reports/kubernetes-project-journey-report/) according to a 2021 study by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). Numerically speaking, the number of Kubernetes engineers grew by 67 percent to 3.9 million from 2020 to 2021. This means 31 percent of the whole 12.6 million backend developers in the world were Kubernetes engineers in 2021.

But this is not all of the benefits of Kubernetes. The following is a list of the top 7 benefits of using Kubernetes:

Container Orchestration savings

Many types and sizes of companies found themselves saving on their ecosystem management by automating manual processes using K8s. Kubernetes automatically provisions and fits containers into nodes to utilize various resources in the best way possible. Some public cloud platforms calculate the management fees in relevance to the number of clusters used by the application and its workload. This means running fewer clusters can reduce the number of API servers and other redundancies in use. Leading to less overall fees and the saving of money. So it saves on developer operations, resource usage, and money. The first two actually also save money indirectly.

After configuring Kubernetes clusters, apps will run with minimal downtime and maximal performance. They will require less support when a node or pod fails as K8s can repair most problems automatically and without human interference. This container orchestration solution increases workflows’ efficiency by getting rid of the need for doing repetitive processes. This not only leads to needing fewer servers but also reduces the clunkiness of and increases the efficiency of administration.

Increasing DevOps efficiency (especially for microservices architectures)

Development, deployment, and testing of an application across multiple cloud platforms with different environments – operating systems and infrastructures – is not an easy task. Implementing microservices architectures in such ecosystems can make things even harder. A developer team should constantly check every platform and environment they use to ensure that the application is running correctly, efficiently, and safely. Such multi-platform ecosystems can lead to an extremely branched development roadmap with a lot of repetitive tasks and QAs for each platform. All these issues make creating virtual machines inefficient and illogical compared to instead creating containers; Specially orchestrated containers.

This is a literal disaster for a development team. So the sooner a dev team deploys Kubernetes during the development cycle, the better. The sooner they do it, the fewer will be mistakes down the road as they can test the code early on. They waste less time scrimmaging with traditional solutions such as virtual machines.

Apps based on microservices architecture are made of separate functional units that communicate with each other through the APIs. This makes the IT department of an organization able to separate itself into small teams, each working on single features, which leads to more efficiency in the end.

Deploying apps and workloads in multi-cloud environments

Thanks to Kubernetes, workloads can exist in a single cloud or be on multiple could services no matter what, and easier than ever. Kubernetes clusters allow the migration of applications from on-premises infrastructures to hybrid deployment across any cloud provider’s cloud. No matter if the cloud is public or private. no matter what operating system it is using. It just works; Without losing any of the performance and functionalities of the application. This lets an enterprise or an organization easily move their workload or application to a closed source or proprietary system without facing any lock-in in the process. GreenWeb offers straightforward integrations with Kubernetes-based applications with no need to refactor the code in most cases.

More portability – Less vendor lock-in

Using containers for your app is more agile to handle and more lightweight for handling virtualization than virtual machines. That is because containers only contain the resources that the application actually needs. For the rest, it uses the features and resources of the host operating system thanks to its abstract nature. Containers are smaller, faster, and easier to port as already mentioned. For example, using four virtual machines to host four applications requires four instances of a guest operating system to run on that server. But using containers as the approach means the developer can contain them all within a single container where they share one version of the host OS.

Automating deployment and scalability

Kubernetes schedules and automates container deployment across multiple compute nodes. It does not matter if it is on a public cloud, on-site virtual machines, or physical on-premises machines. Its automatic scaling feature allows teams to scale up or scale down the application effortlessly to faster meet the demand. Automatic scaling starts up new containers on demand when a heavy load or a spike happens. It observes the CPU usage, memory allocations, and other custom metrics in real-time to find the demand for higher computing power. As an example, in times of online events – such as Black Friday offers in an online shop –  the requests increase massively in a second, making manual management inefficient. When the demand spike is over, K8s automatically scales down resources to avoid wasting resources. But it can also roll back as fast as possible if something goes wrong.

Improving apps’ stability and availability in a cloud environment

Kubernetes automatically places and balances containerized workloads and appropriately scales the cluster to accommodate the increase and decrease of demand and keep the system live and efficient. This lets the developers run their containerized applications more reliably. If one node of a multi-node cluster fails, K8s automatically redistributes the workload to other nodes without disrupting the availability of the application to users. It also has self-healing features such as restarting, rescheduling, and or replacing a container when it fails or when a node dies. It allows developers and engineers to roll updates and patches without downing the app.

Being open-sourced

Kubernetes is a project led by a community rather than a company with limited human resources and knowledge base. It is fully open source, which means the developers can customize it however they want. And more importantly, it means the solution is free for everyone, forever! The open-source license allows it to have a huge ecosystem of other open-source tools and plug-ins designed to use with it. The platform’s strong support means there is constant innovation and improvement to K8s, which protects your free investment in the platform. It means you are not locked into a technology that may become outdated anytime soon.

Kubernetes history and ecosystem

Announced by Google in mid-2014, Kubernetes was created by Joe Beda, Brendan Burns, and Craig McLuckie. Very soon, other Google engineers joined them, including Tim Hockin. The development and the design of Kubernetes were influenced by Google’s Borg cluster manager. In fact, many of the developers of K8s had previously worked on Borg. The seven-spoked wheel logo of it is inherited from its initial name, Project 7 – from the Star Trek’s ex-borg character Seven of Nine -. Kubernetes is written in Golang (Google’s alternative to C++).

Released on July 21, 2015, Kubernetes continued its development as a seed technology in the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF); A foundation formed by Google in collaboration with the Linux Foundation. In February 2016, the Helm package manager was released for Kubernetes.

Although Google was already offering managed K8s services, and Red Hat was also supporting it – as a part of the OpenShift family – since the announcement of the Kubernetes project in 2014, In 2017, the others rallied around it and announced adding native support for Kubernetes via cluster managers such as Pivotal Cloud Foundry (VMWare), Marathon and Mesos (Mesosphere), Docker (Docker, Inc.), Azure (Microsoft), and EKS (Amazon Web Services).

As of March 6, 2018, Kubernetes was the 9th project in the list of projects with the highest number of commits in GitHub, and 2nd in the list of issues (Issues let you track your work) as well as the list of the number of authors; Placing it right after the Linux kernel.

Kubernetes in Green plus

 

 

 

Private Blockchain VS Public Blockchain

Blockchain is a digitally distributed ledger, which eases the process of tracking assets and recording transactions in a business network. In terms of accessibility, there are two general forms of blockchain networks; Public Blockchain and Private Blockchain. In a Public model of a Blockchain network, anyone can join and participate in the core activities of the network. While in a private blockchain, only a single organization has authority over the network and also, accessibility can be permission per participant. We will compare “Public Blockchain vs Private Blockchain” deeper in the following article.

Public Blockchain

A Public Blockchain is one with public accessibility. It means anyone can participate in the core activities of the network. One can read, write, and audit an ongoing activity of such network. Basically, there is absolutely no restriction on participation. This is what makes the self-governing, and fully decentralized nature of blockchain networks a possibility. This type of network was in fact, the first type of Blockchain network to come out of the hands of the authors of Bitcoin.

Once people found the benefits of the technology used in Bitcoin, they started to utilize it for various uses. Although as expected, they eventually found some issues and limitations depending on how they wanted to use it and where they wanted to implement it. This made them come up with new types of Blockchain networks, each to get rid of different issues.

In a Public Blockchain, all participants have equal rights; no matter what. They have the highest level of security and the highest level of transparency. Thus making them the most trustworthy type of network for what they are designed for.

Still, nothing is perfect and so are these kinds of networks. They have their own flaws. They are mostly slower than other networks. Also, one can use them for illegal activities and remain anonymous without even worrying about it.

Pro – High Security

Public Blockchain companies always design their platforms with maximum security in mind. Vulnerability against hacks is something every company and organization that does not use Blockchain networks suffers from. In some cases, it can cause billions of dollars of loss.

Security protocols used in these networks can easily secure such companies against hacks and prevent lots of losses. Each platform has different security protocols but one can say almost all of them are robust.

Pro – Open Environment

As the name says, a Public Blockchain is open to everyone. Meaning, you can enjoy all the benefits of these services, no matter when, and no matter where you are, and also no matter who you are. All you need is a computer with internet access. 

Pro – Full Decentralization

Putting public Blockchain VS private Blockchain, the first one wins here. Unlike the other ones, public ones are fully and truly decentralized. Considering that every participant has a copy of the ledger, the nature of the public Blockchain is distributed as well.

Basically, such Blockchains don’t have any centralized entity. So the network completely relies on the nodes for its maintenance. Thanks to consensus algorithms, ledgers will be updated in a fair way.

Pro – Immutability

Once someone adds a block to the network, it cannot be deleted nor can be edited/changed. Even if someone tries to change a block, they are in fact creating a separate chain different than the original one.

Pro – User Freedom

As there is no top authority, there is no set of rules for a user to follow. No one controls what a user does and no one can regulate their deeds. No organization can stop you from downloading a node. A user can join a consensus whenever they want.

Once again, putting public Blockchain VS private Blockchain, public ones are the only ones to allow users to have this much freedom. A private Blockchain user cannot say that they have the same amount of freedom in their network.

Pro/Con – Anonymous Nature

In a public Blockchain, despite being open and transparent, you can always keep your identity hidden. And no one can track you using that. Public access to these networks could otherwise leave participants vulnerable, Thus the main purpose of this nature in such networks is the safety of participants. But still, flaws are flaws.

This “Pro” could be considered a “Con” by some people in the past. Until recently, criminals abused this anonymousness to their advantage and to do their illegal activities using platforms utilizing such Blockchains. In the end, it can be considered a general problem for almost everything. Everything can be used for good, or abused for bad, depending on its user.

Pro/Con – No Regulation

Public Blockchains do not have any regulations for the nodes to follow. This means the users are open to using it in whatever way that is better for them. However, this makes it unusable for Enterprises as they need a regulated environment.

Enterprises need this because their projects have specific requirements which can be followed much better in a regulated network. Making such Blockchains a bad choice for their internal uses. Although it still can be used for their external affairs with their customers. So having no regulation can also be an issue.

Con – High Energy Consumption

Maintenance of highly secured Blockchains usually consumes a lot of power. That’s because their consensus mechanisms mostly require participants to compete in order to validate the information. And they will give the participants rewards for letting the network use their machines’ processing power. However not all public Blockchains have this problem. Some of them use different approaches which are more power efficient and don’t need energy-intensive validation processes.

Con: Data leak

This is a side effect of full transparency. The identity of participants is always hidden in the network. However, all records in the network, including transactions and the addresses involved, are visible to everyone. This means if someone somehow finds the network address of someone in real life, they can see all their transactions in that network. So even though the participant was completely anonymous until that moment, they may completely lose their anonymity at a glance. But the chances of such scenarios happening are justifiably low.

Con: Attracting Criminals

This one is a side effect of participant anonymity. If we consider that the possibility of a real-life data leak is low, then the anonymity of criminals can be the next problem. Public Blockchains are attractive for criminals as they can transfer money in a safe route without the fear of getting caught by authorities.

Private Blockchain

A private Blockchain, unlike its public counterpart, is not as fully decentralized. But it is still a distributed ledger and still considered decentralized. This type of network operates as a closed database. It is secured with cryptographic concepts depending on an organization’s needs.

A private Blockchain requires an invitation for participants which must be validated. This validation should either be done by the network starter or the set of rules the starter made for the network. This is the case if the organization or the company sets up a permissioned network – which is the usual case – such as Hyperledger Fabric.

The access control mechanism can vary depending on the needs of the company or the organization. A regulatory authority can be the one to grant access to the new participants. A consortium can be the one to grant this access. Or the existing participants could decide the future entrants.

The aforementioned Hyperledger Fabric network is an example of the implementation of permissioned private Blockchain. This project is one of the Hyperledger projects hosted by the Linux Foundation. It has been designed as a solution for the requirements of enterprises that demand Blockchain networks. Particularly talking, digital identity, as a fundamental need for enterprises, is a good example of such needs. It can be used for handling supply chains challenges, facilitating security-rich provider/patient data exchanges in healthcare, or disrupting the financial industry.

Only the entities who are the participants of a specific transaction will have knowledge and access to it. Permissioned private networks allow the user to have much greater scalability in terms of transactional throughput.

Pro: Full Privacy

Unlike the counterpart Blockchain model, private Blockchain solutions have a serious focus on privacy concerns. It can easily be said that if someone wants the highest level of privacy, the perfect choice for them is would be private Blockchain. As privacy is one of the most important challenges for enterprises, this solution can solve a lot of their problems once and for all.

Pro: Empowering the Enterprise

Private blockchains, in contrast to public ones, work in a way to empower the enterprises as a whole instead of individual employees.

Pro: Stability

Private Blockchains are much more stable compared to public ones. This is because the number of participants is in a specific and expected range. This means the pressure on the network doesn’t fluctuate depending on the active participants and ongoing transactions. Simply, in every Blockchain platform, there is a fee for completing a transaction.  But if the Blockchain is public, this fee can increase and decrease due to the unpredictable nature of the number of active nodes.

In other words, when the number of transactions increases, the time it takes to process them increases as well. Which results in an increase in the fee. But this is only the case if the Blockchain is public. When utilizing a private Blockchain, only a limited group of people can request transactions. Thus there is not any form of delay or slowdown in the process. Keeping the fee in a stable range.

Pro: Low Fees

Private Blockchains have extremely low transaction fees. As mentioned above, and unlike their public counterpart, in private Blockchains, the transaction fee does not increase by the number of requests and remains the same all the time. It does not matter how many people request transactions, the fees always remain fairly low and accurate. Thus any hidden cost will be eliminated.

Pro: Economy Friendly

A private Blockchain can, in fact, save an enterprise a lot of money. Maintenance of such Blockchains is quite simple compared the public ones. Blockchain platforms that are private only take up a few resources. While on the other hand, the public ones demand a lot of resources to support the big crowd of participants they have. This alone can save up a lot of money. Even though it still does not mean that private Blockchains are hugely cheap.

Pro: Regulation

Enterprises have a lot of rules and regulations that need to be followed almost perfectly by every member. And if someone does not follow a rule, there will be consequences for them according to the same set of rules. The regulation needs to happen in their network as well. Which makes private Blockchain a perfect choice for enterprises. In a private Blockchain, the exact same thing is possible. It allows the regulator to outline all the rules, and the participants have to follow them accordingly.

Con: Security

Private Blockchain in contrast to their public counterpart, are susceptible to data breaches and other security threats. The concern comes from the fact that there are only a limited number of validators used to reach a consensus about data and transactions – if there is a consensus mechanism involved anyway-.

Conclusion

As we reach the ending point of “public blockchain vs private blockchain” we feel the need for a conclusion. With all the differences and similarities between the two, they are both suitable for enterprise use cases if the company or the organization estimates their needs correctly.

Concluding the comparison, a public blockchain is accessible by anyone while a private blockchain can be accessed from inside the organization. The same goes for their read/write access. While it is true that both types are decentralized, there is still a difference between them in this regard. Public ones are fully decentralized, but private ones are only partially decentralized. The same goes for their immutability.

Public implementations of blockchain, while having high costs for transactions, are slow in terms of processing speed. While on the other hand, private implementations are the exact opposite; Fast and cheap.

In the end, by finding the right requirements of your company, and considering this comparison, you can choose the right type of blockchain for your company. Thus getting the most out of the features of your chosen blockchain. However, if your company needs a private blockchain, you can use Green Plus services, just contact us.

FAQ

  • What is an example of a public blockchain?
    1. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, etc.
  • What is an example of a private blockchain?
    1. Quorum, Hyperledger Fabric, R3, Corda, …
  • Who uses a private blockchain?
    1. Businesses across several sectors, such as retail, healthcare, insurance, financial services, and even governments.
  • How do private Blockchains make money?
    1. Transactional fees. Institutions or businesses that use blockchain infrastructure have to pay a subscription fee and transaction fee to the developers.
  • Can blockchain be hacked?
    1. An attacker—or group of attackers—could take over a blockchain by controlling a majority of the blockchain’s computational power, called its hashrate.

What is Hyperledger Fabric and how it works?

Hyperledger Fabric is an open source and modular framework thats  was launched by the Linux Foundation in 2015. follow us in this article to more know about Hyperledger fabric, its usecases  and how it works.

What is Hyperledger Fabric?

Hyperledger Fabric is one of the most popular distributed ledger (aka. Blockchain) protocols. It provides support for private transactions and confidential contracts, unlike traditional blockchain networks. These issues are of utmost importance for businesses, which resulted in the design of Hyperledger fabric as a response. Being a modular, scalable, open-source, and secure foundation is the key for this blockchain protocol to become a global solution for businesses.

What makes Hyperledger Fabric different from some other blockchain systems is the fact that it is private. The support for membership-based permission system allows the ability to verify the identity of participants. This ability is a primary requirement for a business sector, as it allows them to control data access for each member specifically. A lot of business sectors, like health care, finance, and education, need this ability, and if a protocol system doesn’t support it, it’s enough for them to not use it.

How does Hyperledger Fabric work?

Modular architecture

Transaction processing workflow

 Hyperledger Fabric uses a three-stage transaction processing workflow. These stages are:

1-            distributed logic processing and agreement of the system

2-            transaction ordering

3-            transaction validation and commitment

Smart contract: This processing workflow is a smart contract system called chaincode. Smart contract is a self-executing contract system with the terms of agreement being directly written into the code. The code – which exists in the blockchain network – controls the execution of the transaction. It’s irreversible and trackable.

Benefits of this workflow

 This workflow segregates the aforementioned steps for multiple reasons, including:

  • A reduced number of trust levels and verification that keeps the network and processing clutter-free
  • Improved network scalability
  • Better overall performance

Plug-and-Play

 Hyperledger Fabric supports the Plug-and-Play of different components, which allows the reuse of already existing features and ready-made integration of various modules. This means, for example, if an enterprise-level network already has a function for a specific action – like verification of a participant’s identity – they don’t have to make the function from the scratch. Instead, they only have to plug the existing module and reuse it.

Roles of participants in the network

 There are 3 different roles for participants of the network. Endorser, Committer, and Consenter. The process of a transaction has 4 levels in the first stage, 2 levels in the second stage, and 1 level in the final stage. These 7 stages are:

  • Application submits a proposal to the endorsing peer.
  • Chaincode (the smart contract) will be executed to simulate the proposal in peer.
  • Endorsing peer sends the response of the proposal back to the application.
  • The application submits the transaction to the ordering service.
  • The ordering service creates a batch of transactions.
  • The ordering service sends the batch to the committing peer.
  • Committing peer validates transactions and commits block to the blockchain.

This system also enhances the performance and scalability of the network thanks to only sending confirming instructions – signatures, read/write sets, … – across the network. Only committers and endorsers can access the transaction, which further increases security by limiting the participants who have access to key data points.

Benefits of Hyperledger Fabric

There is always a reason why someone designs/invents something new. And this technology is not an exception. Finding the issues and improvement headroom of the predecessor technologies and solving them, will lead to the benefits of using the successor technology. Hyperledger Fabric has several benefits over traditional some other blockchain services which some of which are in the list below:

Permissioned network 

A traditional blockchain is built upon several anonymous participants of an open network. While Hyperledger Fabric Establishes decentralized trust in a network of known participants. This means the blockchain is not publicly accessible and only verified users have access to it. The users can only perform specific actions that the administrator granted them their access.

Confidential Transactions

 Confidential Transactions keep the amount and type of assets transferred visible only to participants in the transaction. In other words, it makes you able to expose only the data you want, only to the parties you want.

Pluggable architecture

 You can tailor your blockchain network to your needs thanks to the plug-and-play structure of Hyperledger Fabric. This means you don’t have to make a one-size-fits-all network. And also means you don’t have to make all the functions from the scratch – as said before -.

Easy to get started with Hyperledger Fabric

 Program the required smart transactions the way you want. With the language you and your team work with. There is no need to learn new/custom languages for the sake of working with this service.

You can get some of these benefits with traditional centralized networks unlike some other types of blockchain networks. But you have to leave the base benefits of blockchain behind. With Hyperledger Fabric you can get the most benefit from both types of networks.

Industry Use Cases for Hyperledger Fabric

Like any other innovation or new technology, it takes time for the value of Hyperledger Fabric to finally emerge. But at the moment, there are still a lot of real-life uses for this private blockchain network.

Tamper-proof audit trail

Tamper-proof audit trail – as the name explains – means your data is secured against tampering. But when does tamper-proof auditing matters? For example, when tracking invoices, settling internal payments, managing referrals, managing access to records, or tracking supply, tamper-proof auditing plays its role.

Managing data access

 Keeping track of records and who has access to them, is one of the many use cases of the feature – Tamper-proof audit trail -. In an example implementation, consider an app that manages medical record storage for patients and doctors utilizing Hyperledger Fabric. Patients use their private key to access a “patient” portal and can grant and revoke access to doctors. Doctors also use their private keys to enter their “doctor” portal and add or edit records and procedures of a patient who previously granted them the access.

Tracking supply chain network and origin

 One can also use tamper-proof audit trail to track a supply chain. Blockchain can be a big technological leap for supply chain related businesses. Take a pharmaceutical supply chain as an example. In this example, we will explore the role of a blockchain-based platform in digital interactions that allow us to track the shipping of a product. We have to make sure the product has been shipped from a valid source and has traveled through the supply chain in the right condition. Counterfeited drugs and or mishandling of them cause billions of dollars of loss to big pharmaceutical companies each years; Thus making the tracking of supply chain an important process.

Hyperledger Fabric in Financial settlement

 One of the very first use cases of blockchain was amongst the payment related businesses. Transferring money as quick and as cheap as possible is one of the simple examples of utilization of Hyperledger Fabric for financial settlement. Cryptocurrency enables real-time money transfers anywhere in the world. Thanks to cryptographic guarantees, blockchain simplifies the process of peer-to-peer payment by making sure the users can’t spend their tokens twice. Double-spending is problem that if not using blockchain, needs the use of third-party financial institutions – like banks and credit rating agencies – to be avoided.

This advantage, thanks to removing the need of third party, makes the process of transaction of money much faster and saves your money from being paid for operating costs. And here come things like hyperledger fabric for things like internal settlements.  This service offers a way to carry out and manage payments between an organization’s branches or between close partners. An open and transparent blockchain solution helps organizations to ensure trust and create a transparent record. So the participants of the network can see where a transaction goes and why it goes there.

Invoice processing

 Invoice processing, due to its complexity, can cause trouble for large organizations that have a lot of offices around the globe. Yet to this day, some organizations or some of their branches still do it manually. Which of course, can get too complicated and take a lot of time; And we are not even talking about the potential errors within the process. On the other hand, centralized record-keeping software can reduce the transparency of the process, and even cause chaos when the organization doesn’t grant the access to other related participants of the network. Meanwhile, using Blockchain enterprise systems such as Hyperledger Fabric brings a perfect level of transparency, allowing all participants to observe any modification on the records or any addition/removal.

Commission Management

 Hyperledger permissioned blockchain projects can also help with the tracking of commissions and show a clear history of accepted works and its payments, just as good as it helps with the processing of invoices in an efficient manner. Especially for conglomerate companies that operate in multiple countries across the world, this can be a useful network system as the solution; Because such companies always struggle with referral payments and the management of their commissions. Whether a company has a partner who uses a different accounting system, or the partner provides the data in a low-quality (probably with a lot duplicates) shape, or maybe even intentionally misrepresents the commissions, an application which utilizes Hyperledger Fabric can help the company to establish the order.

Enterprise blockchain for contract validation

 Companies that have many branches and a lot of partners can make their ecosystem using a private blockchain network such as Hyperledger Fabric. Today, doing things like issuing an invoice or renewing a contract, it’s either manual or a semi-manual automation. Companies who don’t use blockchain have to integrate multiple systems and fight data silo problems (= when one information system or subsystem is not capable of reciprocal operation with others). While with blockchain, you will get a unified place to store all your information in a consistent and transparent approach. Furthermore, blockchain smart contracts can be used to trigger new automatic actions when the contracts expire. The smart contract’s behavior can be adjusted for specific asset types and treat product and service delivery different than inventory sales.

You can also combine other features like invoices and internal payment to your contract validation feature. As always, one of the biggest challenges that large companies struggle with is transparency and trust between parties. And as always, a private, permissioned blockchain, together with traditional IT solutions, can resolve these problems.

Blockchain-based time-sensitive distribution

 From the beginning of the pandemic of Covid-19 in 2019, scientists began to find a solution to lower the rate of spread of the virus to almost zero. The introduction of various vaccines was the solution as expected. The problem came up when the demand raised too much – although it was expected -, traditional distribution system could easily fail to find potential frauds and counterfeits which caused by the high demand. It also was not as time-sensitive as it should have been and could cause a lot of losses in the number vaccine dozes; Especially considering the pricelessness of them at the early stages of the vaccination.

And this is how blockchain solved all the aforementioned challenges at once. Tech Mahindra – an Indian multinational IT services and consulting company – has made an interesting Hyperledger Fabric based system, called VaccineLedger. VaccineLedger was actually developed in cooperation with a startup funded by Unicef and Gavi (an international organization to improve access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries). Thanks to this new system, distribution and monitoring of the vaccine can be done with precise information on the logistics, temperature, current location, purchase orders, and transport conditions, leading to a smooth operation. Read more about VaccineLedger in Forbes

GreenPlus Hyperledger Fabric

GreenPlus Managed Blockchain is a fully managed service that allows you to set up and manage a scalable Hyperledger Fabric blockchain network with just a few clicks. Managed Blockchain eliminates the overhead required to create the network, and automatically scales to meet the demands of thousands of applications running millions of transactions. Once your network is up and running, Managed Blockchain makes it easy to manage and maintain your Hyperledger Fabric network. It manages your certificates and lets you easily invite new members to join the network.

Get started building a Hyperledger Fabric blockchain network in minutes with Greenplus  here.

 

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