Many people across the world still consider Blockchain as an improved database only. But, in reality, both are way different than just storing and reading data in them. Blockchain is a relatively new technology in the market, it is quite obvious that people still confuse digital ledger with old school databases!
Let’s figure out the core difference between database and Blockchain in this blog.
What is a traditional database?
A traditional database is a client-server network architecture, where users can store and modify data. A traditional database is a centralized server with control given to a single authority. Data can be stored, modified and even deleted from a traditional database.
What is blockchain?
Compared to a traditional database, Blockchain is a decentralized and temper proof ledger. All the participating nodes can enter data in the Blockchain.
As the name suggests, blockchain is the collaboration of blocks and chains. When a new data makes its way to the system, a new block is created with data, changes and timestamps. That is interconnected with the previous blocks and would get connected with upcoming blocks, thus a chain gets created. And this entire system is known as Blockchain.
To change any data in the system, the majority of the nodes have to be in consensus. Unlike a traditional database, modifications and data removal is not easily possible.
Blockchain vs Traditional Database: a detailed comparison
As we saw that the definitions and usage of the Blockchain and traditional database is different. Let’s dive a bit deeper and understand how both are different from one another in terms of functionality and technology.
The database being a client/server architecture is reliable and suitable for small, medium and large enterprises. Centralized control is given to the administrator to manage and update the entire database. No consensus algorithm is needed nor the complex setup is required. Client-server communication happens with a secured channel.
Blockchain on the other hands works as a distributed ledger network architecture. A digital ledger is created and all the nodes (participating parties) are given authority to insert the data. Blockchain is a peer-to-peer enabled network, thus connected nodes can communicate with each other via secure cryptographic protocols. For miners, a popular consensus algorithm of proof-of-work is used.
Data handling and immutability
Both blockchain and traditional databases manage data in a different manner. In the traditional database, data can be stored or replaced with other values. When needed, entire database values can be erased as well. CRUD (stands for Create, Read, Update, Delete) is utilized for operating applications.
In Blockchain, data is immutable, period. Stored data cannot be replaced nor the data tampering can take place in the entire system. Unlike a traditional database, blockchain-based systems would allow only two operations, 1. Read and 2. Write.
When a new dataset or value is added in the system, the new block gets created and even if someone tries to modify the data, a new block is created with timestamps. Thus the node trying to change data can also be tracked.
With the right tool and proper access in the blockchain system, anyone can access the data and analyse the entire process flow. Any data written in the public blockchain is accessible to the public. Thus transparency is improved.
Databases being centralized, they don’t support any form of transparency for general users. Users cannot access the data and information if they want to. However, with the permission of the administrator, the data can be made public for users to view.
Setup costs and upfront costs are negligible for initiating the traditional database development. No special resources or technical support is required to work on a traditional database.
Where in the case of Blockchain is a relatively newer technology, specialised skilled resources are required. On top of that, blockchain technology works on consensus, that means additional server setup costs and network handling would be needed.
Scaling up the traditional database is also easy and economical. Where scaling the enterprise structure on Blockchain would need a lot of adoption and learning costs.
As the traditional database is relatively simple in structure, performance is faster and can handle a lot of transactions at any given time without a hiccup. Blockchain is comparatively slower.
Blockchain-based systems do a lot of processing at the same time. Signature verification, consensus mechanism activation and redundancy tests take place at the same time while writing a new block. Thus, performance-wise the blockchain system would work a little slower than the traditional database.
Which one should you select for your application?
As we saw, Blockchain and traditional databases both have their own advantages, disadvantages and specific type of usage for all. Blockchain-based systems being less prone to fault and more secure than a traditional database. It can be used in special operations like financial transactions, trusted data verification, voting and building decentralized applications.
The traditional database offers a lot of customization. Thus, it is useful in a centralized process for faster operations. Also, processes where a continuous flow of data is maintained, a traditional database is better to select.
Organizations are also working on a way where they can add a few features on top of the traditional database and make it better like Blockchain. Planning to build your own application and finding it difficult to select the right thing for you? Connect with our Blockchain experts to know what suits you the most!