Decentralizing Data

Exploring the benefits of a decentralized database

Catherine Hickox

Content Lead

Data is everywhere. It’s powering our online experience, energy grids, global relations, and innovation across all industries. As we become increasingly dependent on technology in our daily lives, it’s more important than ever that all this data is stored in secure, reliable databases. Most of the databases used today—like PostgreSQL or MongoDB—are centralized, meaning that all of the data is stored on a single server or group of servers controlled by a centralized party. But with the rise of blockchain technology, decentralized architectures are finding new use cases, including data. 

The need for decentralized data

Decentralized databases, which distribute the data across multiple nodes, are becoming increasingly important. Space and Time is composed of a distributed network of nodes, offering a decentralized solution to secure, reliable, and fast data services. Decentralization offers several benefits over traditional, centralized architectures. 

Better security

One of the main advantages of a decentralized database is that it’s more secure. In a centralized database, all of the data is stored in one location, making it a prime target for hackers. But when the data is stored across multiple nodes, operated by a distributed network, it’s much harder for a malicious actor to target the system. Overall, the system is more secure, and users are granted peace of mind about the safety of their data. In Space and Time, users can also encrypt their tables, so the data stored in any given cluster cannot be accessed by anyone in the network. 

Data availability

Decentralized databases are also more resilient and guarantee greater data availability. In a centralized database, if the server goes down, the entire database is unavailable. Not only is this extremely inconvenient for users, it can also have serious financial consequences for businesses. Business processes that rely on this data become less efficient the longer access is unavailable, which can result in increased costs and major loss in profits. Decentralized databases resolve this issue altogether. Data is distributed across multiple nodes, which means that if one node goes down, the rest of the database is still accessible. This makes decentralized databases much more resilient and less susceptible to downtime. Space and Time replicates data across the network and in archive storage, providing near-infinite availability and enabling speedy recovery back to full replication state in the event of node failure.

Flexible and scalable

Decentralized databases also offer greater flexibility and scalability. In a centralized database, it can be difficult and expensive to add more capacity or make other changes to the system. With a decentralized database, new nodes can be easily added, allowing the system to scale as needed. This not only makes the database more flexible, but also allows it to handle larger volumes of data without sacrificing performance. The Space and Time network scales to petabytes elastically, making terabytes of blockchain data available in real-time and allowing users to load enterprise-scale volumes data from source systems. Space and Time can handle thousands of concurrent requests with high TPS, regardless of the query complexity.

User ownership and control

In addition to these practical advantages, there are also philosophical reasons why decentralization is important. In a decentralized database, users have more control over their own data and are not reliant on a single entity to manage and maintain it. No one party controls the database operations, making the system less susceptible to corruption, manipulation, or tampering. While decentralized databases are tamper-resistant, Space and Time is completely tamperproof, as query results are cryptographically guaranteed by our patented novel cryptography, Proof of SQL™. 

Decentralized Database vs. Decentralized Data Warehouse

Space and Time is unique among decentralized databases, as it’s also an HTAP data warehouse—which means it supports transactional and analytic queries in a single cluster. With Space and Time, users can load data from any source and run sub-second analytics that produce verifiably tamperproof results, while remaining fully decentralized.

This article is also available to read on Medium.

Catherine Hickox

Content Lead

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