BigchainDB is a scalable blockchain database. That is, it’s a “big data” database with some blockchain characteristics, including decentralization, immutability and native support for assets.

You can read about the motivations, goals and high-level architecture in the BigchainDB whitepaper.

Is BigchainDB Production-Ready?

No, BigchainDB is not production-ready. You can use it to build a prototype or proof-of-concept (POC); many people are already doing that.

BigchainDB is currently in version 0.X. (The Releases page on GitHub has the exact version number.) Once we believe that BigchainDB is production-ready, we’ll release version 1.0.

The BigchainDB Roadmap will give you a sense of the things we intend to do with BigchainDB in the near term and the long term.

Some Basic Vocabulary

There is some specialized vocabulary associated with BigchainDB. To get started, you should at least know what what we mean by a BigchainDB node, cluster and federation.

A BigchainDB node is a machine or set of closely-linked machines running RethinkDB Server, BigchainDB Server, and related software. (A “machine” might be a bare-metal server, a virtual machine or a container.) Each node is controlled by one person or organization.

A set of BigchainDB nodes can connect to each other to form a cluster. Each node in the cluster runs the same software. A cluster contains one logical RethinkDB datastore. A cluster may have additional machines to do things such as cluster monitoring.

The people and organizations that run the nodes in a cluster belong to a federation (i.e. another organization). A federation must have some sort of governance structure to make decisions. If a cluster is run by a single company, then the federation is just that company.

What’s the Difference Between a Cluster and a Federation?

A cluster is just a bunch of connected nodes. A federation is an organization which has a cluster, and where each node in the cluster has a different operator. Confusingly, we sometimes call a federation’s cluster its “federation.” You can probably tell what we mean from context.

There are several kinds of nodes:

  • A dev/test node is a node created by a developer working on BigchainDB Server, e.g. for testing new or changed code. A dev/test node is typically run on the developer’s local machine.
  • A bare-bones node is a node deployed in the cloud, either as part of a testing cluster or as a starting point before upgrading the node to be production-ready. Our cloud deployment starter templates deploy a bare-bones node, as do our scripts for deploying a testing cluster on AWS.
  • A production node is a node that is part of a federation’s BigchainDB cluster. A production node has the most components and requirements.

Can I Help?

Yes! BigchainDB is an open-source project; we welcome contributions of all kinds. If you want to request a feature, file a bug report, make a pull request, or help in some other way, please see the file.