Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Roger Strukhoff, Don MacVittie

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, @DXWorldExpo, @ThingsExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

Blockchain as a Service | @CloudExpo #Blockchain #IoT #Bitcoin #Ethereum

It seems lately you can’t have a discussion around new & disruptive technologies without 'blockchain' entering the conversation

(Note: This is part of a continuing series of posts dedicated to the topic of blockchain technology.)

The cloud wars rage on. The room is full of 800lb gorillas that have been battling over market share and supremacy for several years now. You know who the key players are - Amazon, Microsoft, Google and IBM - all still standing.  Three year ago, Gartner described the market as ‘still evolving and maturing'.  However, last year, they described the market as ‘in a state of upheaval' with many providers shifting their strategies as they struggle to obtain market share.

Pricing battles have always been ongoing in the cloud wars. Surprisingly, in one sense, the pricing battles have made pricing a smaller consideration in the decision-making process. While there will be no abatement in that battle, vendors are searching for other ways to impact the decision-making process, such as by adding new features and capabilities. These include a variety of platform and software as a service (PaaS/SaaS) offerings which can be very attractive to organizations looking to explore new technologies without having to make a significant capital investment and purchase.

Enter the blockchain - the latest technology disruption
It seems lately you can't have a discussion around new and disruptive technologies without the word blockchain entering the conversation. Blockchain technology at its basic is a distributed ledger. In an earlier post, I discussed that while blockchain has close association with bitcoin, it is also being looked at for a variety of situations well beyond digital currencies.

Hype around blockchain is definitely high. There was a recent article that even suggested blockchain could cleanup American politics. While I have my doubts about that, there is no question blockchain has the potential as a disruptive technology to impact many businesses in a positive fashion. How to research and investigate the usage of the technology to a deep enough level in a cost-effective fashion has become the challenge for many businesses.

Could the cloud come to the rescue?
Setting up an environment to test and research blockchain is not trivial undertaking. Blockchain is a distributed, peerto-peer technology. It requires an ecosystem with multiple systems in order to be able to develop, research, and test. I recently wrote about the benefits of leveraging the public cloud for test environments. One of the big benefits is the ability to stand up, deploy, test, and break down environments. No large hardware investments are needed, nor any capital investment. The cost involved is only during the time the environments are up and being used.

From a cost perspective, this is a definite plus. We still have the complexity of setting up and configuring the blockchain ecosystem. This is where the concept of offering Blockchain As A Service (BaaS) can provide added value. Imagine if your cloud provider not only could provide you the necessary flexible infrastructure to investigate blockchain, but in addition, they could offer you a full blockchain ecosystem to start working worth.

Blockchain as a Service  (BaaS) - Ask and ye shall receive
Many of the leaders in the cloud space have seen the potential benefits of offering Blockchain As A Service (BaaS) to their customers and have started providing some level of BaaS capabilities.

  • Microsoft(Azure) - In November of last year, Microsoft fired the first shot. They announced a partnership with ConsenSys to provide the Ethereum Blockchain as a Service (EBaaS) in their Azure environment. Offering the service will allow "customers and partners to play, learn, and fail fast at a low cost in a ready-made dev/test/production environment" according to Marley Gray, a director in Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise organization. In April, Microsoft also announced partnering with the R3 Consortium of 43 banks to help spur distributed ledger among the R3 members.
  • IBM(BlueMix) - In February of this year, IBM announced they would be offering Blockchain as a Service using the Hyperledger blockchain. The release stated, "Using IBM's new blockchain services available on Bluemix, developers can access fully integrated DevOps tools for creating, deploying, running and monitoring blockchain applications on the IBM Cloud."
  • Amazon (AWS) - In May of this year, Amazon announced a collaboration with the Digital Currency Group, one of the largest investors in blockchain firms. The agreement will provide Blockchain As A Service to members of DCG's portfolio so they "can work in a secure environment with clients who include financial institutions, insurance companies and enterprise technology companies."

Another weapon in the arsenal
In the rapidly changing landscape of the cloud wars, no single technology or offering will be the silver bullet to winning the battle. Not every business looking to move to the cloud necessarily will have a need or interest in blockchain. That being said, for those businesses that are considering blockchain, having BaaS as an offering will be a checkbox when evaluating different vendors. The announcements by Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon over the last 8 months demonstrate the vendors see it as a benefit to have the offering available in their portfolio. As interest in blockchain continues, and we move past the hype into the reality of actual implementations, it could become an even more powerful weapon in the every escalating and changing cloud wars marketplace.  There is a common phrase, often attributed as a Chinese proverb//curse, ‘May you live in interesting times.' Blockchain and the cloud wars will definitely keep things interesting for some time to come.

More Stories By Ed Featherston

Ed Featherston is VP, Principal Architect at Cloud Technology Partners. He brings 35 years of technology experience in designing, building, and implementing large complex solutions. He has significant expertise in systems integration, Internet/intranet, and cloud technologies. He has delivered projects in various industries, including financial services, pharmacy, government and retail.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Dumas, Calligo’s Vice President and G.M. of US operations, discussed the new Global Data Protection Regulation and how Calligo can help business stay compliant in digitally globalized world. Greg Dumas is Calligo's Vice President and G.M. of US operations. Calligo is an established service provider that provides an innovative platform for trusted cloud solutions. Calligo’s customers are typically most concerned about GDPR compliance, application p...
"I focus on what we are calling CAST Highlight, which is our SaaS application portfolio analysis tool. It is an extremely lightweight tool that can integrate with pretty much any build process right now," explained Andrew Siegmund, Application Migration Specialist for CAST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
As many know, the first generation of Cloud Management Platform (CMP) solutions were designed for managing virtual infrastructure (IaaS) and traditional applications. But that's no longer enough to satisfy evolving and complex business requirements. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, Embotics CTO, explored how next-generation CMPs ensure organizations can manage cloud-native and microservice-based application architectures, while also facilitating agile DevOps methodology. He expla...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
Continuous Delivery makes it possible to exploit findings of cognitive psychology and neuroscience to increase the productivity and happiness of our teams. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Daniel Jones, CTO of EngineerBetter, will answer: How can we improve willpower and decrease technical debt? Is the present bias real? How can we turn it to our advantage? Can you increase a team’s effective IQ? How do DevOps & Product Teams increase empathy, and what impact does empath...
DevOps promotes continuous improvement through a culture of collaboration. But in real terms, how do you: Integrate activities across diverse teams and services? Make objective decisions with system-wide visibility? Use feedback loops to enable learning and improvement? With technology insights and real-world examples, in his general session at @DevOpsSummit, at 21st Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, explored how leading organizations use data-driven DevOps to close th...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software. They hope to capture value from emerging technologies such as IoT, SDN, and AI. Ultimately, irrespective of the vertical, it is about deriving value from independent software applications participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kausik Sridhar, founder and CTO of Pulzze Systems, discussed how given the magnitude of today's application ...
There is a huge demand for responsive, real-time mobile and web experiences, but current architectural patterns do not easily accommodate applications that respond to events in real time. Common solutions using message queues or HTTP long-polling quickly lead to resiliency, scalability and development velocity challenges. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ryland Degnan, a Senior Software Engineer on the Netflix Edge Platform team, will discuss how by leveraging a reactive stream-based protocol,...
Mobile device usage has increased exponentially during the past several years, as consumers rely on handhelds for everything from news and weather to banking and purchases. What can we expect in the next few years? The way in which we interact with our devices will fundamentally change, as businesses leverage Artificial Intelligence. We already see this taking shape as businesses leverage AI for cost savings and customer responsiveness. This trend will continue, as AI is used for more sophistica...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
Digital transformation is about embracing digital technologies into a company's culture to better connect with its customers, automate processes, create better tools, enter new markets, etc. Such a transformation requires continuous orchestration across teams and an environment based on open collaboration and daily experiments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Alex Casalboni, Technical (Cloud) Evangelist at Cloud Academy, explored and discussed the most urgent unsolved challenges to achieve f...
"Digital transformation - what we knew about it in the past has been redefined. Automation is going to play such a huge role in that because the culture, the technology, and the business operations are being shifted now," stated Brian Boeggeman, VP of Alliances & Partnerships at Ayehu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
You know you need the cloud, but you're hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You're looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you're concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies. What do you do?
"We started a Master of Science in business analytics - that's the hot topic. We serve the business community around San Francisco so we educate the working professionals and this is where they all want to be," explained Judy Lee, Associate Professor and Department Chair at Golden Gate University, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.