The emergence of blockchain cloud technology is no surprise. Blockchain distributed ledger solutions for secure transactional processing, the Internet of Things (IoT) and a number of other applications are ripe for major cloud brokers to provide a variety of Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) offerings. But what is a blockchain cloud in relation to other types of cloud platforms?
Today, a blockchain cloud operates as a “thin cloud” when compared to traditional cloud platforms that does not have all of the possible services available to users. The first use of this model was for privately storing transaction files/records in immutable cloud storage environments, where customers can contract with a blockchain cloud provider (most likely a hyperscaler such as AWS, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, etc.). The contract is authenticated and registered in several nodes in the network and in a ledger (block). Records are retrieved by the owner’s private key, which can be secured using a solution such as Equinix SmartKey™.
Storage capacity can be scaled quickly and easily, and cost is often a fraction of traditional cloud storage fees. Since localized, distributed data packets have fewer network hops between the source and destination nodes, blockchain cloud performance is typically faster than traditional clouds, so delivery is faster. In addition, blockchain cloud storage environments are giving rise to databases based on blockchain technology that integrate the decentralization, immutability and consensus benefits of blockchain technology into existing enterprise data infrastructure and business applications.
Moving from blockchain storage to blockchain applications
Since blockchain has created networks of secure, immutable and democratic computations, a cloud provider could host a number of BaaS offerings for developing blockchain solutions (e.g., transaction processing, IoT, artificial intelligence). For example, the Grid Foundation has launched the development of a new “Cloud Operating System” that will act as a central hub for all blockchains and lay a foundation for the development of new types of cross-chain enterprise applications. The system starts with a hyper-efficient deployment of a Grid Kernel structured with blockchain systems logic. Users interface with an interactive shell to deploy either Grid’s complete blockchain OS or develop their own custom OS.
Last year, Nasdaq released NYIAX, a blockchain-enabled, cloud-based media trading platform. The blockchain-enabled platform combines financial matching engine and trading concepts with advertising technology to enable publishers and advertisers to buy, sell and re-trade future premium advertising inventory as guaranteed contracts.
BlockApps and Red Hat are working together to help businesses development blockchain applications to scale for hybrid cloud environments. The hybrid BaaS solution enables developers to build apps that combine the capabilities of blockchain in hybrid cloud environments, allowing organizations to create production-ready Ethereum applications more easily.
These are just a few of the practical applications of blockchain clouds, but none of this will be possible without direct and secure interconnection between blockchain cloud providers and their partners and customers.
Interconnection will power blockchain clouds
In a recent blog, “Accelerating Blockchain Technology Adoption,” we discuss how “Most enterprises will need to simultaneously participate in multiple blockchain networks. That makes it advantageous for them to place their IT systems on an interconnected platform, with dense, globally distributed blockchain provider ecosystems for transferring their data between the many blockchain provider ledgers and their legacy IT systems.” We anticipate that these blockchain networks will gather at Equinix, and a blockchain ecosystem will form. And, though it is still early, we are extremely excited by the prospect of all of this happening and the opportunities it will present to our customers.
Read more about how Platform Equinix™ is enabling the direct and secure interconnection required for new evolving technologies such as blockchain cloud.