The blockchain technology is gradually making its way among enterprise application developers. One of main barriers that hinder the pervasive adoption of blockchain technology is the lack of enough human capacity like system administrators and engineers to build and manage the blockchain applications. Indeed, to be fully qualified as a blockchain specialist, you need an interdisciplinary knowledge of information technology and information management. Relative to other well-established technologies like Data Science, blockchain has more terminologies and complex design architectures. Thus, once you learn how blockchain works, you may pick a platform and start building your applications. Currently, the most popular platform for building private Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) is Hyperledger Fabric. Under Hyperledger family, there are several DLTs, tools and libraries that assist developers and system administrators in building and managing enterprise blockchain applications.
Hyperledger Fabric is an enterprise-grade, distributed ledger platform that offers modularity and versatility for a broad set of industry use cases. The modular architecture for Hyperledger Fabric accommodates the diversity of enterprise use cases through plug and play components, such as consensus, privacy and membership services.
Why Hyperledger Fabric?
One of major highlights of Hyperledger Fabric that sets it apart from other public and private DLTs is its architecture. Specifically, it comes with different components that are meant for blockchain implementations at the enterprise level. A common use case is sharing private data with a subset of members while sharing common transaction data with all members simultaneously. The flexibility in data sharing is made possible via the “channels” feature in Hyperledger Fabric if you need total transaction isolation, and the “private data” feature if you’d like to keep data private while sharing hashes as transaction evidence on the ledger (private data can be shared among “collection” members, or with a specific organization on a need-to-know basis). Here is a good article for an in-depth review of Hyperledger Fabric components.
Currently, there are few resources available that cover Hyperledger Fabric holistically from design stage to development to deployment and finally to maintenance. One of highly recommended resources is “Blockchain with Hyperledger Fabric” a book by Nitin Gaur and others published for Packt Publication Company. Its second edition (get here) is now available at Amazon. For the remainder of this article, I briefly review some of its highlights.
Blockchain with Hyperledger Fabric Book Highlights
Compared with other available blockchain books in the market, the book by Nitin Gaur and others has more pages which means it covers more practical topics. As a senior Fabric developer, I find the following 5 major topics of the book very useful and can be used by all Fabric developers on a daily basis. Here is a good article for those who are new to blockchain development in Hyperledger.
1- Focus on enterprise
I personally have read a few books on Hyperledger from Packt written by Brian Wu, yet I think this book covers more practical enterprise topics than them. Also, unlike other Packt books on blockchain that are written mostly for educational audiences, this book, in my opinion, is more geared toward readers interested in putting Fabric concepts into practice. Here is a good article for a comprehensive review of blockchain use cases in many industries.
2- Coverage of Fabric network
Most books on Hyperledger focus usually draw a line between network administration and smart contract development by covering one in more depth (see this article for details). Indeed, in the previous Fabric books from Packt, I saw more emphasis on Fabric smart contract development than the network. However, this book does a good job of covering the Fabric network in more detail.
3- Integration and design patterns
For all I know, other books on Fabric have not covered design patterns for integrating Fabric into current or legacy systems. Thus, this book does a great job in covering it. Specifically, regarding Fabric integrations, this book discusses the following practical topics:
- Integrating with an existing system of record
- Integrating with an operational data store for blockchain analytics
- Microservice and event-driven architecture
- Resiliency and fault tolerance
- Reliability and availability
4- DevOps and CI/CD
Almost every enterprise developer is familiar with DevOps and how to implement Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD) on containerized applications using Kubernetes or Docker. However, in the previous books I read, there was no discussion on best practices for achieving agility in the Fabric network using DevOps best practices as covered in this book.
5- Hyperledger Fabric Security
As the cybersecurity landscape changes very fast, being the latest book in the market on Hyperledger Fabric, it offers good insights on the latest development and practices in securing Fabric networks and applications.
Other notable book topics that caught my attention were a- Developing service-layer applications, b-Modifying or upgrading a Hyperledger Fabric application, and c-System monitoring and performance.
Overall, I highly recommend this book to those who are serious about mastering Hyperledger Fabric. Indeed, if you learn and put most of the topics and concepts covered in this book into practice, you will earn a badge of Hyperledger Fabric specialist.