[bitcoin-dev] Using a storage engine without UTXO-index

Tomas tomas at tomasvdw.nl
Fri Apr 7 00:17:47 UTC 2017


Hi Eric,

Thanks, but I get the impression that the similarity is rather
superficial.  

To address your points:

> (1) higher than necessary storage space requirement due to storing the
> indexing data required for correlate the spends, and

Hmm. No. Spends are simply scanned in the spend-tree (full tree,
prunable, fully 5.6gb), or caught by the spend-index (bit index,
non-prunable, fully 180mb). Neither impose significant storage
requirements.

> 2) higher than necessary validation complexity and cost in terms of
> computing the spent-ness (including spender height) of an output.
>
> With the exception of de-linking (not deleted) in the case of reorgs, the
> entire store is append only, implemented in a small set of memory
> mapped file

I guess this is the key difference. As the spend-tree stores the spend
information in a tree structure, no reorgs are required, and the
resulting code is actually much less complex.

Bitcrust simply scans the tree. Although earlier designs used a
skip-list, it turns out that accompanied by a spent-index lagging a few
blocks behind, raw scanning is faster then anything even though it needs
to scan ~5 blocks times ~4000 inputs before reaching the first
spent-index,  the actual scan is highly cache efficient and little more
then a "REP SCASQ", reaching sub-microsecond per input on each core
*including* the lookup in the spend index.

 > I don't follow this part, maybe you could clarify. A spends index
> grows with the size of the spend set (forever) as it cannot be pruned,
> which certainly exceeds the size of the UTXO set (unless nothing is
> spent). The advantage is that you don't have to keep rewriting the
> store when you use a spends set (because the store can be append only).

My point is, that the spend tree grows per *input* of a transaction
instead of per *output* of a transaction, because this is what is
scanned on order validation.

The spend tree can be pruned because the spend index (~200mb) catches
early spends.

Disregarding the baseload script validation, the peak load order
validation of bitcrust is more negatively effected by a transaction with
many inputs than by a transaction of many outputs.

I encourage you to check out the results at https://bitcrust.org

Regards,
Tomas

On Fri, Apr 7, 2017, at 01:38, Eric Voskuil wrote:
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> On 04/06/2017 03:12 PM, Tomas via bitcoin-dev wrote:
> 
> Hi Tomas,
> 
> > I have been working on a bitcoin implementation that uses a
> > different approach to indexing for verifying the order of
> > transactions. Instead of using an index of unspent outputs, double
> > spends are verified by using a spend-tree where spends are scanned
> > against spent outputs instead of unspent outputs.
> 
> This is the approach that genjix used in libbitcoin version2. With the
> exception of de-linking (not deleted) in the case of reorgs, the
> entire store is append only, implemented in a small set of memory
> mapped files. The downsides to the approach are:
> 
> (1) higher than necessary storage space requirement due to storing the
> indexing data required for correlate the spends, and
> 
> (2) higher than necessary validation complexity and cost in terms of
> computing the spent-ness (including spender height) of an output.
> 
> His implementation used a hash table, so performance-wise it did quite
> well and would theoretically outperform a tree, O(1) vs. O(log2(N)).
> 
> > This allows for much better concurrency, as not only blocks, but
> > also individual inputs can be verified fully in parallel.
> 
> I was successful in parallelizing input validation (across the inputs
> of an unconfirmed tx and across the set of all inputs in a block)
> using the v2 store. However, it is not the case that the spends
> approach is necessary for concurrency.
> 
> To resolve the above two problems the version3 store does not use a
> spends table/index. Nor does it store any table of UTXOs. Yet
> validation is highly parallelized. Instead of additional indexes it
> uses the tx hash table, augmented with 32 bits per output for spender
> height. So there is a O(1) cost of finding the tx and a O(N) cost of
> finding the spender height where N is the number of outputs in the tx.
> But because the number of outputs in a tx is bounded (by block size)
> this is constant time in the number of transactions.
> 
> This works out much faster than the spends table, and without the
> storage cost or complexity disadvantages. It also scales with
> available hardware, as the memory mapped files become in-memory hash
> tables. For low memory machines we found it was important to implement
> an opaque UTXO cache to limit paging, but for higher end systems zero
> cache is optimal.
> 
> > I am sharing this not only to ask for your feedback, but also to
> > call for a clear separation of protocol and implementations: As
> > this solution, reversing the costs of outputs and inputs, seems to
> > have excellent performance characteristics (as shown in the test
> > results), updates to the protocol addressing the UTXO growth, might
> > not be worth considering *protocol improvements* and it might be
> > best to address these concerns as implementation details.
> 
> I don't follow this part, maybe you could clarify. A spends index
> grows with the size of the spend set (forever) as it cannot be pruned,
> which certainly exceeds the size of the UTXO set (unless nothing is
> spent). The advantage is that you don't have to keep rewriting the
> store when you use a spends set (because the store can be append only).
> 
> Feel free to message me if you'd like to discuss in more detail, or to
> continue on the libbitcoin mailing list (copied).
> 
> e
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