One of the things that surprised me following last week's Jepsen report on Radix DLT (https://jepsen.io/analyses/radix-dlt-1.0-beta.35.1) was seeing both blockchain/DLT people *and* the database community go "Hang on, 16 transactions per second can't be right"--and expecting wildly different figures.
Is it that DLTs are doing *byzantine* consensus? Etcd uses Raft (https://raft.github.io/), which is not Byzantine fault-tolerant. Takes 2 network hops plus a disk sync on a majority of nodes to commit. ~2n messages/txn. Throughput bounded by the single, totally-ordered Raft log.
Radix is based on Hotstuff (https://arxiv.org/abs/1803.05069), which is Byzantine fault-tolerant, three-phase consen. ~6n (I think?) messages/txn.
And like, Hotstuff *itself* can go fast. The paper reports c5.4xlarge clusters pushing ~120K ops/sec (1KB/op, batches of 400 ops per round).
As the crypto maxim goes: DYOR!
Here's a YourKit snapshot from one of those Radix nodes pushing ~12 txns/sec. Some of it's crypto (BouncyCastle), but it looks like it's burning a ton of time in BerkeleyDB IO. Roughly 1/3rd waiting for fsync.
Anyway, that's where I'd start digging if I were working on Radix perf! Some of this might be limitations of BDB's API... but I'd be looking for ways to omit or batch syncs, asking where I might be seeing write amplification, trying to measure write locality/ordering, etc.
Zooming out: Some of these costs can probably be optimized away in time. I suspect permissionless DLTs are always going to be at a latency and throughput disadvantage though. For starters, Lamport 2002 puts a two msg-delay lower bound on async consensus: https://lamport.azurewebsites.net/pubs/lower-bound.pdf
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