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Intro to Hyperledger Family and Hyperledger Blockchain Ecosystem

By Editorial Team on 2019-06-08

This article is for those who are relatively new to distributed ledger technology and permissioned blockchains. The primary goal is to explore Hyperledger blockchain concepts, to provide you with the necessary knowledge and important technical design methodology of the Hyperledger ecosystem, and then learn when to apply these technologies through real-world use cases.


The topics covered in this article are essential for understanding what is Blockchain Hyperledger technology and how different Hyperledger tools work together.

This article starts off by reviewing Hyperledger family followed by discussing frameworks under Hyperledger project. We also review major tools available under Hyperledger project.

 

Hyperledger History and Family in a Nutshell

The Linux Foundation has made significant accomplishments since its inception in 2000. In December 2015, The Linux Foundation announced the Hyperledger project as an open source environment for analyzing, building, and collaborating on the development of distributed ledger systems. The creation of the Hyperledger project has helped to attract many major participants including IBM, Oracle, Cisco, Red Hat, and Accenture.

Notably, Hyperledger focuses primarily on building distributed ledger solutions for permissioned blockchains and consortium networks. It is gaining popularity among large technology companies. Financial players have undoubtedly given blockchain technology substantial exposure as well.

At its core, Hyperledger is an umbrella project of modular open source frameworks and tools for building and experimenting with blockchains. Hyperledger refers to its design as the greenhouse for enterprise blockchains. It aims to be an incubator for developing practical applications and business solutions with blockchain technology.

New projects are being added to the Hyperledger ecosystem constantly. At the time of writing, it consists of 10 active projects. Each project has its unique advantages and offers various functionalities. Among the 10 current projects with stable releases, 5 are frameworks and 5 are utility tools.

We will do a high-level overview of the frameworks and tools under the Hyperledger project here. For more details on individual frameworks and tools, we recommend Hyperledger Cookbook by Brian Wu. He is currently a senior blockchain Hyperledger instructor at Coding Bootcamps school in Washington DC.
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Hyperledger Project Frameworks

The frameworks under Hyperledger project aim to provide platforms to build a variety of distributed ledgers and their components. They are as follows:

  • Hyperledger Fabric: Fabric is the most popular Hyperledger framework. Smart contracts (also known as chaincode) are written in Golang and JavaScript, and run in Docker containers. Fabric is known for its extensibility and allows enterprises to build distributed ledger networks on top of an established and successful architecture.
  • Hyperledger Sawtooth: Sawtooth is the second project to reach 1.0 release maturity. Sawtooth-core is written in Python, while Sawtooth Raft and Sawtooth Sabre are written in Rust. It also has JavaScript and Golang components. Sawtooth supports both permissioned and permissionless deployments. It supports the EVM through a collaboration with the Hyperledger Burrow.
  • Hyperledger Burrow: Burrow is the first permissioned ledger that supports EVM. It is written in Go and heavily focuses on being a deterministic Smart Contract engine.
  • Hyperledger Indy: Indy is built explicitly for decentralized identity management. The server portion, Indy node, is built in Python, while the Indy SDK is written in Rust. It offers tools and reusable components to manage digital identities on blockchains or other distributed ledgers.
  • Hyperledger Iroha: Iroha is designed to target the creation and management of complex digital assets and identities. It is written in C++ and is end user friendly. Iroha has a powerful role-based model for access control and supports complex analytics.

 

Hyperledger Project Tools
The tool projects provide a set of utilities to make working with blockchain networks easier. These tools range from performance measurement, on-demand deployment, and building a business network with existing business models. The following are the highlights of the Hyperledger tools:

  • Hyperledger Composer: Composer is a suite of tools used for the fast creation of blockchain business networks and is written in JavaScript. It is the most active tool in terms of development activities. Composer is designed to accelerate the integration of blockchain applications and smart contracts with existing business models.
  • Hyperledger Explorer: Explorer provides a dashboard for peering into block details which are primarily written in JavaScript. Explorer can also be integrated with authentication platforms and supports the Hyperledger Sawtooth framework with its typescript-based, Angular-built iteration.
  • Hyperledger Caliper: Caliper is a benchmark tool for measuring blockchain performance and is written in JavaScript. It utilizes indicators such as Transactions Per Second (TPS), transaction latency, and resource utilization. Caliper is a unique general tool and has become a useful reference for enterprises to measure the performance of their distributed ledgers.
  • Hyperledger Cello: Cello brings the on-demand deployment model to blockchains and is written in the Go language. Cello is an automated application for deploying and managing blockchains in the form of plug-and-play, particularly for enterprises looking to integrate distributed ledger technologies. It also provides a real-time dashboard for blockchain statuses, system utilization, chain code performance, and the configuration of blockchains. It currently supports Hyperledger Fabric.
  • Hyperledger Quilt: Quilt is the interoperability tool between ledger systems and is written in Java by implementing the Interledger Protocol (ILP) for atomic swaps. Quilt is an enterprise-grade implementation of the ILP, and provides libraries and reference implementations for the core Interledger components used for payment networks.

Now that we have an overall idea of the Hyperledger family and its ecosystem, we are ready to discuss some key design concepts of Hyperledger blockchains for business applications. After reading this article, readers have two paths to take: 1- Learn more about Hyperledger use cases and its business applications and 2- Learn more about Hyperledger application development. For the former, we recommend Blockchain Solution Architect course by High School Technology Services. However, for the latter, after knowing blockchain Hyperledger family, its technologies and tools, you should move on to build Hyperledger framework layers, understand Hyperledger Fabric Architecture and Components and learn how to develop Smart Contracts using Hyperledger technology. Taking Blockchain Hyperledger Development in 30 hours course by Coding Bootcamps school is also highly recommended. Lastly, as of this writing, Hyperledger Foundation offers the following two Hyperledger certifications: The Certified Hyperledger Fabric Administrator (CHFA) and The Certified Hyperledger Sawtooth Administrator (CHSA), both of which are highly regarded in the industry. Hyperledger Foundation is in the process of creating Hyperledger Developer certification program, which may be released in early or middle of 2020.

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