While the Web3 ecosystem has been growing for a few years now, it’s still focused on building the essential elements of what’s emerging as a vibrant community. And now, companies are beginning to explore its implications. Web3—the next generation of the internet, also referred to as Web 3.0—involves a cluster of technologies, tools and applications, from blockchain and distributed identity to edge computing and artificial intelligence. These evolving technologies are coming together to move us toward a more decentralized, transparent and secure internet.
Emerging companies have begun delivering solutions to help businesses use blockchain and participate in Web3. Software applications referred to as decentralized applications (DApps) leverage distributed Ethereum networks—public blockchains that are critical for the security, resilience and decentralization of interactions and transactions in Web3.
In a sense, blockchain is another way to do a database of transactions, and Ethereum nodes are another type of compute workload. Some of the same infrastructure requirements apply. But in another sense, using Web3 technologies also requires us to rethink existing infrastructure and plan for the future. Web3 and the associated technologies are already promising new opportunities. While there’s been a lot of excitement around the development of these services and applications, we need to think strategically about the infrastructure we’ll need to support them.
What’s new about Web3?
The internet has been evolving since it was first introduced. Web 1.0 was the original read-only internet of the 1990s and early 2000s. In the 2000s, thanks to the use of smartphones, the mobile internet and social media, we shifted into Web 2.0—which is more or less the internet we think of today. But we’ve now started to see the emergence of Web 3.0, or Web3, which will be largely defined by decentralization of the web’s architecture, greater openness and transparency, and security:
With Web3, data, infrastructure and control are more distributed. That means there isn’t a central authority holding or controlling data. Web3 semantic architectures allow information to be stored across multiple databases and deliver more interactive, immersive experiences. From an IT architecture standpoint, decentralization aligns with the increasing move toward edge computing strategies.
2. Openness and transparency
Web3 is built on open-source technologies that are trustless and permissionless. Trustless means participants in the network can interact directly without an intermediary. The blockchain essentially distributes trust across the system, minimizing the need for participants to trust one another. Permissionless means no governing body is required to give permission for participants to access data.
Blockchain and smart contracts are cornerstones of Web3. They’re designed to offer enhanced security through network encryption, granular access controls and private keys.
For end users, these changes will mean greater control over who can access and monetize their data. Instead of large companies controlling massive databases, control will be distributed. Businesses will be more accountable to customers, giving them opportunities to improve customer relationships. And Web3 will support greater security, transparency and compliance. As companies begin to explore how to use Web3 technologies, they’ll need to think about the infrastructure required to support those applications. Web3 solution providers also need to consider how strategic infrastructure choices can improve the performance and scalability of their applications.
IT infrastructure to support Web3
For technology providers, the distributed nature of Web3 points toward decentralized architectures that are highly flexible and secure. To support blockchain applications, we’ll need high performance computing (HPC) and GPUs; fast, decentralized storage that’s near public clouds and other essential providers; and high-throughput, low-latency networking. These infrastructure requirements point toward edge data centers that bring compute and storage closer to devices and end users.
Let’s look at some potential infrastructure solutions that can provide a solid foundation for deploying Web3 applications:
Bare metal for Web3
Many of the popular Web3 solution providers—whether they’re delivering financial services, peer-to-peer networks or open internet solutions—use the Ethereum protocol. Bare metal can be a great option to run these workloads since it provides excellent performance and speed along with high security and control. When delivered as a service, bare metal also offers the flexibility and scalability needed for Web3 solutions.
Running Ethereum nodes on Equinix Metal®, our Bare Metal as a Service (BMaaS) solution, offers several advantages:
- The security and control of dedicated, single-tenant infrastructure—supporting autonomy for Ethereum node operators
- On-demand connectivity to your chosen ecosystem partners, for unencumbered connectivity to off-chain infrastructure and legacy systems
- High-performance compute supporting the steady-state nature of Web3 workloads
- A robust suite of DevOps automation tools for developers because Web3 is naturally a DevOps environment demanding highly automated resources
- Quick and easy scalability
Cloud adjacent storage for Web3
The infrastructure for Web3 applications also requires smart storage solutions. To create a storage infrastructure to underpin DApps, companies need security but also off-chain access to the clouds where traditional applications and services are hosted. Cloud adjacent storage enhances bare metal by enabling you to host data for distributed applications proximate to cloud infrastructure.
Cloud adjacent storage on Equinix Metal provides the following benefits:
- Decentralized storage for blockchain data in the locations you need
- Low-latency data access, so Ethereum nodes can retrieve and store blockchain data quicker
- High bandwidth for seamless data transfer between nodes—especially important as blockchain networks grow
- Scalable storage that you can size up or down on demand
- Cost efficiency for managing the large volumes of data associated with Ethereum clusters
- Better overall performance
Internet peering and transit for Web3
Web3 applications require access to the public internet for peering and transit. And as with any other applications, DApps need to be highly performant to deliver a great user experience. The distributed nature of blockchain databases means that data needs to be transported and exchanged very efficiently. Low latency and high throughput are essential to prevent application delays.
The peer-to-peer approach that’s inherent to Web3 happens over the public internet. So, the more direct the route, with fewer hops between networks, the more performant the system will be. And the better the transit access to networks, such as user networks and mobile networks, the lower latency will be. For Web3 applications to reach parity with traditional web applications that have load balancers and front-end accelerators, peering and transit must be balanced and in sync.
In fact, we can only realize the promise of greater privacy and control of our data if these applications meet or exceed the performance experience users are accustomed to in Web 2.0. Otherwise, users may be unwilling to shift or try new applications.
Equinix is a great place to access the internet and do internet peering and transit. We have the largest global peering solution across more than 35 markets as well as solutions for mobility exchange—giving companies options for ways to optimize the network for Web3 workloads.
Design your infrastructure for the Web3 future
While Web3 is growing quickly, it makes sense for solution providers to explore the right infrastructure for their Web3 services and applications. Because of the range of benefits bare metal offers, it’s a great place to host the infrastructure. When you enhance Equinix BMaaS with cloud adjacent storage and internet peering and transit, you can design an infrastructure that delivers the right balance of performance, security and control.
To learn more about Equinix Metal, download the data sheet.