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Migrating from Quorum to Hyperledger Besu: A Guide to Get Started

Marc Lewis
Managing Editor
January 31, 2024
Migrating from Quorum to Hyperledger Besu: A Guide to Get Started
Since this post was written, Hyperledger FireFly has reached 1.0. Learn more here!

Quorum is an enterprise-focused version of Ethereum, designed for use in private blockchains and consortium blockchains. Developed by J.P. Morgan and launched in 2016, Quorum is notable for its emphasis on privacy and permissioned network capabilities, making it suitable for businesses and financial institutions that need to adhere to strict data confidentiality and security requirements.

Various organizations adopted Quorum for applications in finance and other industries. Its permissioned nature and Ethereum compatibility made it a popular choice for consortium blockchains. In 2020, J.P. Morgan transferred the management and development of Quorum to Consensys, a prominent Ethereum software company. But over the last few years Consensys has focused on technologies like MetaMask and Infura and no longer provides ongoing support for Quorum.

In 2023, Consensys tapped Kaleido as the preferred migration partner to ensure continuation of Quorum Blockchain service for existing customers. So, if you’re interested in continuing your Quorum service or want to move to a chain like Hyperledger Besu that is the industry preferred enterprise Ethereum client, we can help.

Understanding the Need for Migration

The blockchain technology landscape is continually evolving, and staying current is critical for businesses to maintain their competitive edge. This includes building on technologies with top-tier support.

A migration from Quorum to Besu allows you to access enhanced features like the latest privacy, scalability tools, and compatibility with the Ethereum mainnet, and build on a foundation that will continue to evolve and improve into the future. Quorum is no longer actively maintained, while Besu has an active community of maintainers that include members of our team.

Hyperledger Besu meets the demand for a stable, performant, blockchain with byzantine-fault-tolerant consensus options, much like Quorum, but it separates itself with ongoing improvements in how it connects to Ethereum mainnet and communicates with other ledgers. In a world where lines are blurring between public and private blockchain, it’s important to build on a chain that is evolving to meet the needs of a cooperative ecosystem.

Getting Started

While any migration is inherently disruptive, Kaleido’s experience in facilitating migrations from Quorum to Besu means that we understand how to perform the process in the most efficient manner, with no risk of data loss. The migration process from another platform includes the following steps:

  • Share your node key material with the Kaleido Operations team, enabling Kaleido to create nodes with identical on-chain identities to your existing nodes.
  • At the time of migration, stop your application from sending more transactions to the chain. Only transactions that are captured in the chain data backup will be imported into the new chain.
  • Download your chain data and share it with the Kaleido Operations team.
  • The Kaleido Operations team uploads the chain data to your Kaleido nodes, preserving the same blocks, hashes, and transactions on your new environment.
  • Update your application URLs to point to Kaleido nodes and restart your application.

Below we’ll go through some more things to consider when migrating your Quorum application to a Hyperledger Besu chain on Kaleido. The goal being to move to a strong chain provider and immediately access our full suite of pluggable tools and services.

Assess Your Current Setup

Before initiating the migration, it's crucial to thoroughly assess the current Quorum environment. This involves documenting the existing configurations, dependencies, data, and smart contracts.

Understanding these elements is vital for a seamless transition.

In this assessment step, Kaleido will work directly with you to create a detailed migration plan  and identify milestones, ensuring that you can manage buy-in of key stakeholders on your end.

By the end of this assessment, you'll have a blueprint for a migration process that minimizes disruption and maximizes efficiency.

Complete a Test Migration

Kaleido encourages all of our customers to follow best practices when it comes to managing development environments. This means having separate environments for testing and production.  

We would first work with you to complete a migration of their test environment, ensuring that you understand all steps of the process and can estimate the amount of disruption to your business by migrating chains.

The first step here is for you to share the genesis file used by your chain and the key material for each node with the Kaleido Ops team. This will enable Kaleido’s team of engineers to replicate the same node identities and genesis file on your Kaleido environment, a requirement for a successful migration.

Once this is complete, you’ll pause your application and take a download of the chain data from your existing network and share that with Kaleido. Only transaction information that is captured in the chain data backup is migrated, so it’s important that you don’t submit more transactions after the export has started. Our team of engineers will load this chain data into your new network, maintaining identical smart contract, block, and transaction information from your previous Quorum network.

Finally, you’ll update your application to point to the RPC endpoints of your Kaleido nodes. We’ll then be able to test out application interactions with the new Kaleido chain and verify that everything will work seamlessly in the new environment.

Migrate the Chain

From preparing the Quorum environment, installing and configuring Hyperledger Besu, to migrating smart contracts and data, and validating the migrated environment—each step we take ensures a clean transfer of data.

We’ll follow the same process that was used for the Test migration, so you’ll be confident that there will be no data loss and how long the process is expected to take.

A couple things are top of mind in both the testing phase and especially here as we’re moving data permanently.

  • Ensuring data integrity and security: Data integrity and security are paramount during the migration process. Here we’ll outline go-forward strategies for data backup and recovery, address potential security concerns, and conduct thorough validation of the migrated data.
  • Privacy features: Quorum offers enhanced privacy features. It supports private transactions and private contracts, which are not visible to all participants of the network. This is a key feature for enterprise use-cases that require confidentiality. While Hyperledger Besu provides permissioning features for network access and privacy groups, its privacy features are different from Quorum. As we work through the migration plan and data migration, we want to have a clear understanding of privacy strategies.
  • Consensus algorithms: Quorum supports multiple consensus algorithms like Raft, Istanbul BFT (Byzantine Fault Tolerance), and others. This flexibility allows for faster transaction times and more control over the network. Hyperledger Besu, similarly, supports various consensus mechanisms like Proof of Authority (PoA) using IBFT, Clique, and others. It is flexible but focuses more on permissioned blockchain scenarios. As we move your chain, we want to be sure operations are easily mapped onto your new environment.

As we stop your old chain, transfer data, and thoroughly test the new environment, all the above factors should be addressed before the old environment is discarded.

Post-Migration Best Practices

Post-migration, it's crucial to ensure that the new system operates efficiently. This includes additional testing, monitoring, and optimization of performance in the new environment.

In the post-migration phase, we’ll also emphasize the need for training teams for a smooth transition and ongoing success in the new platform. We want to be sure that business processes are adapted to meet new conditions and any disruptions are limited.

Are You Ready to Move Your Chain?

The migration from Quorum to Hyperledger Besu represents a significant step forward in leveraging blockchain technology for business applications. We are a leading provider of Hyperledger Besu because our team includes protocol maintainers and we have a deep history with the Hyperledger Foundation. While a move from Quorum to Besu is an involved process, we see moving onto a chain that is still being actively developed as a long-term win for businesses.

This guide summarizes the key moves in a chain migration, but every transfer is different. We always encourage teams that want to move their application to start with a thorough review of their environment by one of our solution architects.

If you’re thinking about moving from Quorum to Hyperledger Besu, schedule a talk with Kaleido today and we’ll help you chart a path forward.

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Launch a Besu Chain in Minutes

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