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Adaptive State Sharding

Used by Elrond, Adaptive State Sharding is an approach that combines all types of sharding into one to improve communication and performance.

What Is Adaptive State Sharding?

There are three types of sharding: state, transactions, and network. Elrond’s approach to Blockchain sharding involves the combination of all three types – and is given the name of adaptive state sharding. Combining the advantages of all three types of sharding results in an optimal mechanism. The result enables parallel processing – improves communication inside the shards – and eventually enhances performance.
The current problem in blockchain technology is that it fails to properly scale for certain applications, like banking, supply chain management, and big data analytics. Elrond’s adaptive state sharding gives a mechanism for blockchain that can improve its performance in terms of throughput and scalability.

To better understand adaptive state sharding, it’s essential to understand sharding first.

Sharding is a horizontal partitioning of data in a database or search engine. The word shard means split and refers to splitting data into smaller chunks that can be stored on different machines, allowing horizontal scaling. Like transaction processing and block processing, sharding has been possible for quite some time, but not at the scale it needs to be at for blockchain adoption. With the advent of blockchain technology and smart contracts, we have a real use case of sharding that can be used to break up transactions, blocks, and other relevant data into smaller pieces that can be processed by nodes with limited resources.

Adaptive sharding is a database partitioning technique that allows horizontal scaling of databases by automatically moving data across servers as the load on the system increases or decreases. 

At the network level, sharding occurs to distribute nodes into segments. It happens at the transaction level while all nodes together retain the entirety of the blockchain. Another sharding that takes place is at the state level. This leads to the processing and verification of more transactions at the same time. 

The dynamic adaptive state sharding model allows for adaptation to an increasing or decreasing number of nodes without compromising the decentralization and security of the network. 

Elrond has done well by demonstrating a new approach to sharding, which increases security and throughput and reduces delays. Its approach has the potential, but only time will tell how much adaptive state sharding helps solve the blockchain systems scalability problem.