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  • Writer's pictureJoy Yuan

IPFS: An in-depth Analysis of Decentralized Storage Gateways

Updated: Dec 14, 2022



What is IPFS?


In a massive peer-to-peer network, computers worldwide store and deliver data using the distributed file storage protocol known as the “Interplanetary File System (IPFS).”

  • Any device in the globe may download the IPFS software and begin hosting and serving files.

  • Anyone with IPFS installed on their computer who uploads a file to the IPFS network can see and download it.

  • IPFS uniquely identifies each file in a global namespace linking IPFS servers via content-addressing.

How does IPFS function? An analysis of the fundamental ideas


Looking at IPFS at a high level, it locates the information you need based on its content. This process, known as content addressing, is made possible by the Content Identifier- CID.

A label known as a Content Identifier, or CID, is constructed using a combination of unique letters and numbers to identify materials on the IPFS network, such as photographs, videos, or other files (known as a cryptographic hash).”


The three cornerstones of knowing, How IPFS works


1: Identify specific entity via content addressing

  • Identifying and retrieving data/information on each is a significant distinction between the centralized and decentralized webs. A URL (or URI) determines the data’s identification and “location” on the centralized web.

  • On the other hand, to access data from diverse sources (peers and nodes), the decentralized web employs content addressing through a unique content identifier, or CID. The content identification does not specify the data’s storage location. Based on the data’s primary content, it nevertheless creates a sort of address.

2: Content linking via Directed Acyclic Graphs (DAGs)


In a decentralized network, peers access data between each other rather than relying on a centralized authority. A graph is an abstraction used to mathematically depict relationships between a group of things from a high-level perspective. An object in a graph is also known as a node, and object links are known as edges.


DAG (Directed Acyclic Graph) is a compound term. Thus it would be fair to define its meaning by deconstructing it.


Directed Graphs: Directed graphs have some sense of direction. A single-headed arrow denotes the right orientation of the connections between nodes, which can only correctly associate in one way. To refer to nodes in a directed network, we use terminology like “ancestor,” “descendant,” “parent,” and “child.”


Acyclic Graph: There are no loops in an acyclic graph, which indicates that nodes cannot connect back to themselves.


Directed Acyclic Graph: An acyclic-directed graph is an ordered cyclic graph and a DAG.


3: Distributed hash tables for finding content (DHTs)


The term “distributed hash table” (DHT) refers to a system mapping keys to values. DHT functions using a hybrid catalog and navigation system in IPFS. DHTs make up the core element of the content routing system.

DHT links the CID (Content Identifier) the user seeks with the peer holding the relevant information.


DHT maps three different kinds of key-value combinations


Provide records: connect a data identifier to a peer who has declared they are prepared to share material with you and have that content on hand—used by IPFS to discover material and IPNS through PubSub to find other people interested in the same topic.


IPNS records: An IPNS key, which is a public key hash, is mapped to an IPNS record.


Peer records: A group of multi addresses used to connect a peer ID to a peer. When we are aware of a peer having material but are unsure of its address, IPFS uses manual connections.


IPFS Gateways


IPFS deployment aims to have native support for IPFS in all widely used tools and browsers. Applications that do not yet natively support IPFS can use gateways as a workaround.

IPFS gateways offer an HTTP-based service that enables browsers and other tools that are not IPFS-aware to access IPFS content.


Types of Gateways


Gateway classification incorporates multiple dimensions:

  • Read/write capability

  • Authentication assistance

  • Style of Resolution

  • Service

Security, performance, and other functional factors all play a role in a gateway’s application and usage.


When not to deploy a gateway


Delay-sensitive applications

Any gateway adds a lag to the intended action since it serves as a middleman between the request’s source and the IPFS node or nodes that can provide the desired material. The cache eliminates this delay if the serving gateway has already stored the requested material (for example, as a result of earlier requests).


End-to-end cryptographic validation

Apps requiring end-to-end validation of content read/write should avoid gateways wherever feasible due to third-party gateway vulnerabilities.


IPFS NFT storages Gateways


The Inter Planetary File System (IPFS) is a crucial component of NFT technology. ‘NFT.Storage’ infrastructure provides data storage and retrieval.


Particular IPFS nodes known as “gateways” serve as a bridge between the peer-to-peer Bitswap protocol and the HTTP protocol, which is understood by all web browsers, to make IPFS data available outside of the peer-to-peer network.

NFT Storage’s mission is to make decentralized data storage the default option for NFT creators. A vital component is delivering a fantastic retrieval experience on the web.

NFT Storage developed a brand-new HTTP gateway to use the IPFS infrastructure already available to the general public and cloud-native caching techniques to deliver a high-performance, CID-based, NFT-focused HTTP retrieval solution.


Conclusion


Since 2015, IPFS has evolved and has served as the foundation for some of the most exciting decentralized technological advancements.


By reducing latency, IPFS enables us to take advantage of the higher memory densities and faster processing speeds that are constantly improving. Increased security, a faster overall Internet speed, and the decentralization of virtual information are all provided.


IPFS is an excellent peer-to-peer application with speed issues and too few peers. Searching for files may take too much time if we want to see anything on IPFS. For the Internet to stay technologically current, HTTP, a twenty-year-old technology, must be replaced.


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