Traditional database management systems like RDBMS have been used for decades in small to large enterprise applications to store any type of data. In recent years, blockchain has got much interest by the organizations and individuals and most people are trying to experiment with it to get the potential benefits which it provides. Nevertheless, it is still in the development phase and upcoming years will decide the future of it.
Now, there has been the confusion and ambiguity of when should we use blockchain or will it provide us benefits we are looking for, also is it right to say that traditional databases are still better choice than blockchain. To answer these questions and to clear the ambiguity, it is important to understand the difference between blockchain and regular databases so that we can decide when to use which. Also, we should find the use cases of blockchain and decide on that criteria that whether we should use blockchain or not.
Here we will discuss the difference between both database systems, their benefits and drawbacks and also their usages.
TRADITIONAL DATABASE SYSTEMS
Traditional database management systems are the centralized systems based on the client-server architecture means there is a centralized database which stores the data of all clients. It is controlled maintained by the organizations which take the decisions like giving authorization to specified people to write or insert the data into the database and authority to view the data. They sometimes allow their users to update their data at any time and users always get the up-to-date information whenever they access the system, but the controlling authority remains to the data administrators who handle the databases. Examples of these database systems are Facebook, Twitter or any small application.
These databases always keep up-to-date data of the clients and mostly delete any previous or unused data, simply they don’t keep the history of the data. Now, here we will discuss the benefits of using relational or any other traditional database.
Because blockchain is the distributed ledger and decentralized system in which any transaction done by any two people can be viewed by any person on the network. But traditional database systems are centralized systems controlled by the organizations which keep the privacy of the users confidential to the outside and no any person can view the data of any other person unless it is allowed by the organization.
Traditional database systems are faster in performance than the blockchain systems because in blockchain system each transaction done between two clients is added to a new block which is then verified by the nodes of the peer-to-peer network which are in different locations, and verification process takes time as nodes or miners use to solve the complex mathematical problems which takes much processor time, but because traditional systems are controlled by the organizations within their boundaries and there are no complex problems to solve, thus they perform efficiently as compared to blockchain.
The blockchain is based on peer-to-peer network and consists of blocks which contain data and each block is linked to the previous block, making the blockchain. The blockchain is the decentralized system means it is not controlled by any organization, but it is maintained by the thousands of individuals called miners, each have copy of blockchain and they exist at different locations but connected together in a P2P (Peer-to-Peer Network).
Miners have powerful computer machines which solve complex mathematical problems to verify the transactions and to add the new blocks in the blockchain. After the new block is added in the blockchain, the system gets synchronized in the whole network to reflect the change, as a result, all other miners get the updated copy of the blockchain. It is also called a distributed ledger means any person can view the data in the blockchain from all over the world.
Now, we will discuss the benefits of using blockchain over traditional database systems.
The fundamental concept of blockchain is the decentralization. In traditional systems, any person having some authority can damage the database of the system and users rely on the single authority like database administrators for their privacy to be kept hidden, and if the authority gets compromised, users lose their data. But blockchain is decentralized systems means it does not rely on single entity but it is maintained by the thousands of individuals which keep track of each other’s work and any new data can be added by the agreement of more than 51% of miners on the network.
Blockchain provides the benefit of data immutability, means once any data or transaction inside the block is added in the blockchain it cannot be changed or deleted by any user or even miner on the network. Unlike traditional database system which doesn’t keep the history of previous data, blockchain keeps the record of any transaction ever happened in this blockchain.
In traditional database systems, we face the situations like database systems being failed or damaged which make it hard to recover data. But in the blockchain systems, if some nodes failed or damaged, it will not affect the blockchain as there are thousands of nodes which keep the copy of the blockchain and we can easily recover the complete history of data easily.
After understanding the differences of both type of database or storage systems, and their benefits and drawbacks, we can easily configure which system will fulfill our needs or which system will fully support our business. In simple terms, we should choose traditional database systems if we want complete control over the database and we want to create our own network. Blockchain should be used when confidentiality and performance do not matter and if there are lots of people who want to pay for the system and also there is a need for data immutability.