Cloud-powered Blockchain Technology
We present an interesting business case of the ways and means Block chain technology can be extended and how it can be empowered by an underlying Cloud platform.
The Block Chain Phenomenon
One of the biggest disruptors of digital landscape in recent years has been the arrival and rise of the “new kid in the” Block chain. Disruption connotes a disturbance of existing setup and Block chain as a technology promises exactly that by inverting the long existing ideals of data and transactional security. Since the advent of financial book-keeping to massive Central banking ecosystems, there has not been a shift in ‘transaction trust’ as significant as Blockchain. Not even digital payments, which were again just a digital adaption of pre-existing transactional models.
From the wild early days of Bitcoin being the platform of choice for cryptocurrencies, to an overarching vision to move away from centralised banking systems, Block chain has come a long way. In the process, it has transitioned into a viable technology for secure, fast and trustworthy multi party transactional systems.
What has been the key driver powering this growth ? The answer lies at the core of its technology solution.
Blockchain Values for Enterprise Solutions
The assurances that BlockChain as a technology offers can be enlisted as below
As a ledger of records that can be shared across distributed nodes that participate in the transaction, Block chain moves away from the single point of trust that is needed in the traditional transactional models. This makes Block chain extremely trustworthy as the integrity of data doesn’t rest with a centralised entity alone. It is a shared trust.
Ideally with distribution of data, the risk of data being tampered becomes elevated in traditional approaches as data is spread. However with block chain, with the record of ledgers shared across transacting parties and with cryptographic encryption, the chances of security breaches become next to improbable. And further more, Block chains are append only systems with only addition of new records allowed. Hence the ledgers are immutable.
The entire data is attributed to all members in a decentralised setup. The addition of records involves a complete consensus amongst participating nodes. Such a democratic and transparent setup sets apart block chain as the best suited solution involving multiple business entities.
The Cloud Advantage for Block Chain
Though the promises of Block chain has been undeniable from the early days, the trouble has always been with respect to realising its potential and converting the promising technology into packaged solution that can be hassle free to build, deploy and maintain. This is exactly where the well established robustness and scalability of Public cloud platforms bring in a huge advantage.
The key challenge in a block chain implementation being the need for computational resources. The biggest advantage of a block chain solution hosted on cloud setup is by leveraging the power of elasticity and high performance provided by Cloud Infra solution. Blockchain nodes can be setup as Scale sets that can be automated to proliferate based on performance needs and this tackles the massive computing power needs.
Ease of Build, Proof-of-Concept solutions, Rapid Scaling and Management
Public cloud platforms offer templatised deployments in partnership with ledger technologies that reduce the deployment complexities to a matter of clicks.
In case of Block chain as a Service solutions, the cloud provider also manages and maintains underlying Ledger technologies, thus eliminating need for maintenance and upgrades in a fast evolving technology.
With their per unit and Scale-on-need pricing, Cloud platforms eliminate the need for upfront capital investments on performance intensive Block chain topologies. It also eliminates the need for infra planning with future roadmaps in mind, which is critical in a rapidly evolving Block chain ecosystem.
A Business case
Let us see an interesting business case of the ways and means Block chain technology can be extended and how it can be empowered by an underlying Cloud platform.
An Airline provider wants to have a Digital Wallet application that would help customers convert their air miles to digital currency. And it adds to this an innovative idea to enable customer purchases using that digital currency to multiple vendors across airports.
Now, the traditional approach to such a business case would involve building centralised databases for capturing miles and enabling digital payment modes and integration with multiple intermediaries to transact with multiple vendors. Inspite of the complex integration there would always remain trust and security issues amongst the multi-vendor ecosystem.
This is exactly where Blockchain as a technology provides a perfect mix of decentralised and trustable transaction solution involving multiple business entities.
The decentralised nature of Block chain removes payment intermediaries by multiple third parties and brings the transacting parties under a single umbrella of trust. Being decentralised, the redemption is updated faster and real-time for partners and customers alike. By nature of blockchain transactions being permanent and irrevocable, customer details as well as transactions cannot be tampered with. Hence the block chain powered application would be faster, trustworthy, scalable and secure.
Block chain – The Road Ahead
Cloud-based Block chain implementations can be both private implementations as in within enterprises as well as consortium implementations involving multiple external parties. They can also be centralised ledger systems with multiple parties transacting via a single centralised ledger or distributed ledgers with independent transacting entities.
In all cases, with scale being the big factor for feasibility in the future, Cloud based Block chain deployments can provide significant cutting edge and cost advantages for solutions. Block chain deployments as service would eliminate the last mile management overheads and allow enterprises to accelerate and focus purely on application deployments.
Gartner predicts that 3 Trillion worth of Goods and Services transactions will be Blockchain-based by 2025. The maturity of Block chain Services on Cloud will indeed be the driving factor towards this tremendous growth and creaing new vistas in trust-driven applications of the future.