Innovation Through Infrastructure

Sep 28 2017   4:08PM GMT

Successful Blockchain Adoption Requires Smart Infrastructure Decisions

Michael Tidmarsh Michael Tidmarsh Profile: Michael Tidmarsh

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Blockchain

Blockchain technology, initially associated exclusively with exotic new cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, is aggressively expanding its market footprint as organizations look to leverage its core capabilities in security and cost efficiency.

Analysts project blockchain adoption will increase more than tenfold between 2016 and 2021, eclipsing $2.3 billion in global revenues.[1] And data presented at the World Economic Forum indicates that 10% of global gross domestic project will be stored on blockchain technology by 2027.[2]

Although blockchain—a distributed ledger and decentralized database for secure transactional data—is most widely utilized in financial services because of its Bitcoin relationship, it also is widely used for such use cases as counterfeit prevention, trading market clearings, claims fraud, Internet of Things and public records management. Those and other uses make it very attractive in such industries as retailing, public sector, insurance and healthcare.

It’s easy to lapse into deeply technical discussions about blockchain’s underpinnings—algorithms, permissioning and hashing. But blockchain’s main benefits are widely agreed upon: It is a highly secure, scalable and cost-efficient way to maintain and validate rights and privileges for all kinds of digital transactions.

“Blockchain has no single point of failure,” wrote SearchCIO.com. “If one node goes down, it’s not a problem because all of the other nodes have a copy of the ledger.”[3] With that strength, it’s easy to see the attraction of blockchain in an era when security threats are increasing—dramatically—in their frequency, geographic scale and magnitude of data compromised.

So, adopting blockchain technology seems like a good idea, regardless of industry or geography. But with a commitment to blockchain also comes a responsibility to make smarter, longer-lasting infrastructure choices that match blockchain’s security, reliability and cost efficiency.

What should you look for in your blockchain infrastructure? According to a report from consulting firm Pund-It (and commissioned by IBM), there are some essential capabilities and functionality you should require when evaluating blockchain infrastructure.[4]

  • Multi-tenant separation and isolation, to ensure that participating entities data and activities are walled off.
  • External attack security to protect blockchain deployments through encapsulated software in a secure, signed, trusted, appliance-style container.
  • Cryptographic key safety to prevent privileged users from creating snapshots of blockchain data.
  • Integrated protection, rather than technology bolt-ons that often leave data exposed and accessible to attacks.

As organizations increase their use of blockchain technology across multiple use cases in order to improve security and cost efficiency, the selection of the underlying platform and infrastructure is critical. IBM has made a strategic commitment to this technology with the IBM Blockchain Platform, powered by IBM LinuxONE systems.

IBM Blockchain Platform represents an integrated approach, because it allows organizations to develop, govern and operate blockchain networks. The platform aligns with the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Project, an open source-based collaboration for blockchain development. IBM Blockchain Platform is optimized for cloud environments—specifically IBM Cloud—because it utilizes techniques designed to close potentially devastating blockchain vulnerabilities.

The platform is underpinned by IBM LinuxONE, a robust, highly available and mission-critical hardware system offering users the security, speed and scale required in blockchain use cases. IBM LinuxONE delivers rock-solid security through unique service containers and crypto-cards, while ensuring high throughput with dedicated I/O processing and high scalability supporting up to 2 million Docker containers.

Blockchain is a big, big deal for enterprises that need the combination of security, availability, performance and cost efficiency for their most important applications and workloads. That’s why IBM has made blockchain a major component of its enterprise solutions strategy via IBM Blockchain Platform and IBM LinuxONE.

[1] http://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/blockchain-technology-market-90100890.html

[2] www.weforum.org/whitepapers/realizing-the-potential-of-blockchain

[3] http://searchcio.com/techtarget.com/definition/blockchain

[4] “Ensuring Secure Enterprise Blockchain Networks: A Look a IBM Blockchain and LinuxONE,” Pund-It Inc., August 2017

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