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Table of contents
1.
Introduction
2.
What is Blockchain?
3.
Amazon Managed Blockchain
4.
Hyperledger Fabric 
5.
Hyperledger Fabric and Managed Blockchain
5.1.
Adding and removing members in the network 
5.2.
Peer nodes in the network
5.3.
Managed Blockchain Resources
5.4.
Connecting with a client 
6.
Frequently Asked Questions
6.1.
What is the difference between Blockchain and traditional databases?
6.2.
What is a Blockchain ledger?
6.3.
What is Amazon VPC?
7.
Conclusion
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024
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Amazon Managed Blockchain

Author Vidhi Singh
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Introduction

If nothing else, we all have heard about cryptocurrency(and by now Web3). The technology that makes such things possible is Blockchain. 
AWS(Amazon Web Services) also provides services that support the creation and management of Blockchain. 

We will dive into the topic of Amazon Managed Blockchain in this article.

What is Blockchain?

A Blockchain can be considered as a shared database that is distributed among the members of a computer network. Since it is a kind of database, a blockchain stores information in digital format electronically. 

One of the most celebrated features of Blockchain is decentralization. Instead of depending on any centralized authority, it ensures the blockchain features through a group of nodes.

Each node on the system has its copy of the digital ledger. To add a transaction every node needs to check its validity. This promotes transparency and makes it free of corruption.   

Now, that we have a hint of what Blockchain is. Let’s move ahead to look at what Amazon Managed Blockchain is. 

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Amazon Managed Blockchain

Amazon Managed Blockchain is sort of a fully managed service that enables the creation and management of the blockchain networks and network resources employing open-source frameworks. Blockchain allows building applications where multiple parties can securely and transparently share data and run transactions without the requirement of a trusted, central authority.

Managed Blockchain can be used to create scalable blockchain resources and networks efficiently and in no time using the AWS CLI, AWS Management Console, or the Managed Blockchain SDK.

Managed Blockchain meets the demands of thousands of applications running millions of transactions through scaling. Managed Blockchain also makes the management of resources and blockchain networks after they are up and running. It also helps in tracking operational metrics related to computational load, requests, memory usage, and data storage.

Ahead we will look at a framework(or platform), Hyperledger Fabric that helps in building a Blockchain network.

Recommended Topic, Amazon Hirepro 

Hyperledger Fabric 

A blockchain network is a peer-to-peer network operating on a blockchain framework that is decentralized. Any Hyperledger Fabric network on Amazon Managed Blockchain involves any number of members. These members have unique identities in the network. For instance, a member may be an organization in a consortium of banks. A single AWS account may have multiple members. Every member runs one or more Hyperledger Fabric peer nodes. The peer nodes endorse transactions, run chaincode, and store a local copy of the ledger.

Amazon Managed Blockchain creates and manages these components for its every members in the network. Managed Blockchain also creates basic components that all network members share, such as the Hyperledger Fabric ordering service and the general networking configuration.  

Hyperledger Fabric and Managed Blockchain

The creator first chooses the framework version and the edition of Amazon Managed Blockchain to use when creating a Hyperledger Fabric network. The version and edition determine the capacity and capabilities of the network as a whole.

The creator should also create the first network member. Additional members are added through a voting and proposal process. 

A Hyperledger Fabric network is active on Managed Blockchain as long as there are members part of it. The network gets deleted only when the last member removes itself from the network. No AWS account or member , even the creator's AWS account, can delete the network until they are the last member and delete themselves.

 

The following diagram shows the fundamental components of a Hyperledger Fabric blockchain running on Managed Blockchain. 

source

Adding and removing members in the network 

An AWS account at first creates a Hyperledger Fabric network on Managed Blockchain, but the network is not actually owned by that AWS account or any other AWS account. The reason is that the network is decentralized, so changes to the network are made by members together.

Members make proposals that all other members of the network vote on to make changes. The network creator also decides a voting policy for the network during creation. The voting policy specifies the basic rules for all proposal voting on the network. The voting policy involves the percentage of votes needed to pass the proposal, and the duration before the vote expires.

For instance, for another AWS account to join the network, an existing member creates a proposal to invite the account. Other members then vote No or Yes on that proposal. If the proposal gets approved, then an invitation is passed to the AWS account. The account then accepts the invitation and becomes a member to join the network. A similar proposal process is needed to remove a member from a different AWS account. A member in an AWS account with enough permissions can remove a member at any time by removing that member directly, without submitting a proposal. 

Peer nodes in the network

Whenever a member joins the network, one of the first things they should do is to create at least one peer node within the membership.

Blockchain networks have a distributed, cryptographically secure ledger that maintains the history of transactions in the network and it is immutable. This implies that it can't be changed manually. 

Every peer node also has the global state of the network for the channels where they participate. The global state is updated with every new transaction. Whenever a new peer node in a channel goes online, it seeks the global state and ledger from other peers. Ledger data can be restored in a new peer node as long as a member exists, even if there is no other peer node on a network. Peer nodes also interact to endorse and create the transactions that are proposed on the network to update the ledger. It's the members, here also, who define the required rules. This way, each member can conduct transactions as allowed by the business logic and independently verify the transaction history in a decentralized manner. 

Managed Blockchain Resources

As a Hyperledger Fabric blockchain network is decentralized,  to make transactions, endorse transactions, verify members, and so on, it is necessary for the members to interact with each other's peer nodes and network-wide resources. Whenever a network is created, Managed Blockchain provides the network with a unique ID. Likewise, when an AWS account creates a member on the network and peer nodes, Managed Blockchain provides unique IDs to these resources.

Every network resource has a unique, addressable endpoint that Managed Blockchain has created from these IDs. Hyperledger Fabric chaincode, other members of the network,  and other tools utilize these endpoints to identify and interact with resources on the network. 

Connecting with a client 

Following is the format for the resource endpoints for a Hyperledger Fabric network on Managed Blockchain:

ResourceID.MemberID.NetworkID.managedblockchain.AWSRegion.amazonaws.com:PortNumber

 

The port that is used with an endpoint depends on the Hyperledger Fabric service is being called and the unique network is setup. AWSRegion is the Region that is used.
Within the Hyperledger Fabric network, authorization and access for every resource is governed by processes defined in the chaincode and network configurations like Hyperledger Fabric channels. 

This way, every member has a private connection with a client in their VPC to the Hyperledger Fabric network on Managed Blockchain. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Blockchain and traditional databases?

A traditional database stores data by structuring it into tables, while a blockchain structures its data into blocks that are held together.

What is a Blockchain ledger?

A Blockchain ledger is a series of blocks that record the transaction details after appropriate verification and authentication by the network members. 

What is Amazon VPC?

VPC stands for Virtual Private Cloud. It allows launching AWS resources into a virtual network that user has defined. This virtual network is analogous to a traditional network that the user would operate in his data center, along with the advantages of having the scalable infrastructure of AWS. 

Conclusion

This article extensively discusses Amazon Managed Blockchain, Hyperledger Fabric, and its properties.

We hope that this blog has helped you enhance your knowledge regarding Amazon Managed Blockchain, and if you would like to learn more, check out our articles on Coding Ninjas Blogs
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