Blockchain meets database: Design and implementation of a blockchain relational database
In this paper, we design and implement the first-ever decentralized replicated relational database with blockchain properties that we term blockchain relational database. We highlight several similarities between features provided by blockchain platforms and a replicated relational database, although they are conceptually different, primarily in their trust model. Motivated by this, we leverage the rich features, decades of research and optimization, and available tooling in relational databases to build a blockchain relational database. We consider a permissioned blockchain model of known, but mutually distrustful organizations each operating their own database instance that are replicas of one another. The replicas execute transactions independently and engage in decentralized consensus to determine the commit order for transactions. We design two approaches, the first where the commit order for transactions is agreed upon prior to executing them, and the second where transactions are executed without prior knowledge of the commit order while the ordering happens in parallel. We leverage serializable snapshot isolation (SSI) to guarantee that the replicas across nodes remain consistent and respect the ordering determined by consensus, and devise a new variant of SSI based on block height for the latter approach. We implement our system on PostgreSQL and present detailed performance experiments analyzing both approaches.