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Community

Scaling Ontology with bloXroute

Ontology Gas | 02.14| 5

By Prof. Aleksandar Kuzmanovic

Ontology is not only a high performance public blockchain, but also a distributed collaboration platform. Their ONT ID decentralized framework helps users manage their own data and multi-dimensional authentication by global verifiers. ONTO helps users manage their digital assets, while DDFX, a decentralized data exchange, is capable of tokenizing data and providing data traceability and cross-system data processing.

Necessarily, ensuring that the underlying Ontology public blockchain is truly scalable, is a necessary pre-condition that enables all the above services to operate seamlessly. This is where bloXroute comes into play. By deploying a global blockchain distribution network (BDN), bloXroute helps scale blockchains, i.e., it can help increase the transaction per second (TPS) rate, often substantially. bloXroute’s BDN consists of two types of nodes: Relays are high-end servers distributed globally, and gateways, co-located with blockchain nodes, are end-point systems whose main objective is to translate the native blockchain messages to bloXroute’s messages, and vice versa. Currently, bloXroute and Ontology are jointly working on developing a bloXroute gateway for Ontology.

Before explaining how bloXroute helps Ontology blockchain scale, let us first see how the Ontology consensus protocol works.

Ontology’s consensus algorithm — VBFT, combines Proof of Stake (PoS), Verifiable Random Function (VRF), and Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT). The Ontology system consists of several networks and entities: (1) The consensus network consists of consensus nodes responsible for consensus on transaction requests within Ontology, block generation, maintaining the blockchain, and distributing consensus blocks to other nodes in the network. (2) The consensus candidate network nodes do not participate in consensus but remain synchronized with the consensus network and updated to the latest consensus block on the blockchain maintained by them in real time. These nodes will also monitor consensus network status, validate consensus blocks, and assist in managing the Ontology network. (3) The synchronous network nodes verify transactions received from the end users, and send them to the consensus nodes. Typically, an end-user (e.g., a dApp) will install and communicate to a local synchronous node. Necessarily, synchronous nodes also receive blocks generated by the consensus network.

So how does bloXroute help Ontology?

  1. When evaluating blockchain scalability properties, often times it is assumed that consensus nodes have access to all the transactions, and then the throughput and performance among the consensus nodes is evaluated. However, in reality, transactions first need to be distributed to the consensus nodes, and this needs to be done sustainably, and at a high TPS rate. This is precisely what bloXroute does, i.e., keeping consensus nodes synced even in light of a dynamic transactions’ traffic matrix.
  2. While distributing transactions to consensus nodes, bloXroute actively indexes them, i.e., assigns them short identifiers (SIDs). Thus, by keeping all the consensus nodes in sync and by utilizing SIDs when transmitting blocks, bloXroute makes it possible to significantly reduce the block size.
  3. Reducing the block size enables swift block distribution, but more importantly, with bloXroute it becomes possible to generate very large blocks, thus directly impacting the Ontology scaling properties.
  4. Another important effect of an efficient and scalable network layer is not just the block size increase. In addition, the Ontology network itself can become bigger, hence more decentralized. This means that safely spinning up more consensus and sync nodes becomes possible.
  5. The transaction incast problem is another common problem that bloXroute helps resolve. In particular, given that sync nodes can send transactions to multiple consensus nodes, it becomes possible that the same transactions may be redundantly distributed among consensus nodes, which becomes problematic at high TPS rates. By effectively broadcasting transactions among Ontology nodes, and by suppressing redundant transaction distribution, bloXroute can help fundamentally alleviate this problem.
  6. Last but not least, the number of connections open at consensus nodes can become high, when a large number of sync nodes connect to it. This can limit the performance, because significant resources can be spent at a consensus node in managing a large number of connections. However, limiting the number of connections that a consensus node can have also reduces the performance, because transaction travel longer within the p2p network. bloXroute helps here by providing a broadcast layer that makes it possible to swiftly propagate transactions and blocks, yet without requiring many connections to the BDN.

In summary, Ontology and bloXroute are working together on developing bloXroute/Ontology gateway. Once developed, it will be made available to the Ontology community, providing a direct access to the bloXroute’s BDN. This will ensure that Ontology’s blockchain is efficient, scalable, and decentralized, ready to absorb a traffic surge that will inevitably come from its numerous applications.


Scaling Ontology with bloXroute was originally published in OntologyNetwork on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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