Hyperledger unfurls Fabric 2.0, says blockchain production era is nigh

Mutual assistance: firm support by Igor Kisselev via Shutterstock
Mutual assistance: firm support by Igor Kisselev via Shutterstock

Open source blockchain group  Hyperledger has pushed out v2.0 of Fabric, claiming its now four year old distributed ledger framework is ready for the “production era”.

Hyperledger, which is hosted by the Linux Foundation, said the latest version of the enterprise targeted framework, delivered “features and enhancements needed to increase the efficiency and security of production deployments.”

While some of the overpowering hype around blockchain has dissipated over the last year, Hyperledger has been diligently plugging away with Fabric, which it describes as “a permissioned, secure, and scalable platform that supports smart contracts and data privacy” which allows “for solutions developed with Fabric to be adapted for any industry”. The project’s backers include tech heavyweights such as IBM, Oracle and Cisco, as well as finance giants including Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan.

New features in 2.0 include decentralized governance for chaincode – Hyperledger’s building block for smart contracts – “with a new process for installing a chaincode on your peers and starting it on a channel”. This will allow multiple organizations to “come to agreement on the parameters of a chaincode, such as the chaincode endorsement policy, before it can be used to interact with the ledger.”

Likewise, it continues, “The same decentralized methods of coming to agreement that underpin the new chaincode lifecycle management can also be used in your own chaincode applications to ensure organizations consent to data transactions before they are committed to the ledger.” This means checks can be added to validate transaction proposals, and “human decisions can be modeled into a chaincode process that spans multiple transactions”.

An external chaincode launcher features means operators can “build and launch chaincode with the technology of their choice”, with enhancements to the way it handles private data, “without the requirement of creating private data collections for all combinations of channel members that may want to transact”.

One a more fundamental level, the group has worked to clear bottlenecks around endorsement and validation lookups using CouchDB, while the adoption of Alpine Linux for Fabric Docker images, means they are smaller and faster to download and startup.

In a canned statement, Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director, Hyperledger. Said, “This new release reflects both the development and deployment experience of the Fabric community and confirms the arrival of the production era for enterprise blockchain.”

Whether you think this statement is a little premature probably depends on whether you’ve used, or even seen, a blockchain project that didn’t have the letters POC in its description.

If you’re already experimenting with Hyperledger, or even using it production, you might want to check the upgrade guide here. Even if the brave new world of blockchain, it’s still advisable to backup up everything before you hit the button.