With an increasing number of enterprises expressing interest in distributed ledger technology, tech companies are rushing to meet the demand. To democratize blockchain technology, Microsoft, IBM, Deloitte, and now Baidu and Tencent, have developed their own platforms offering blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS). Let’s look at three examples of BaaS solutions taking enterprise-grade experimentation with blockchain to a whole new level.
Baidu Blockchain Open Platform
According to Coindesk, on January 12, Chinese web search giant Baidu has launched its own Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) platform. Based on technology developed by Baidu, the open platform sets out to provide the most “user-friendly” blockchain service. Baidu Trust allows the conducting and tracing of transactions; it can be applied in various use cases, including digital currency, digital billing, bank credit management, insurance management financial auditing, and more. The company says the technology has already been applied in asset securitization & exchange, and claims it has contributed to the “first asset-backed securities exchange products using blockchain technology in China.”
Blockchain Cloud Service by Oracle
At the end of 2017, Oracle launched its Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service, an offering that is part of Oracle’s comprehensive Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) portfolio. The enterprise-grade distributed ledger cloud platform helps customers increase business velocity, create new revenue streams, and reduce cost and risk by securely extending ERP, supply chain, and other enterprise SaaS and on-premises applications to drive tamper-resistant transactions on a trusted business network.
Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service enables customers to:
Deliver business results with the ability to rapidly onboard and easily scale the network participants globally, while ensuring that operations run continually with resilience, high availability, and autonomous recoverability.
Accelerate Innovation with Oracle Cloud Applications by extending enterprise boundaries to reduce friction in existing business processes and enable new business models and opportunity to access untapped revenue streams. The Applications Integration toolkit provides integrated applications, sample code, templates and design patterns to accelerate the integration of blockchain applications to Oracle SaaS and on-premises applications suites.
Speed up business processes through trusted real-time information sharing across existing Oracle ERP Cloud, Oracle SCM Cloud, Netsuite SuiteCloud Platform or custom blockchain application integrations.
Reduce risk, complexity, and increase efficiency by securely automating cross-organization transactions, and providing reliable sharing of information both inside and outside the enterprise boundary. Combined, these can help reduce transaction costs, mitigate security and privacy risks for enterprises, and simplify compliance and audits.
According to the press release, Oracle plans to offer Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service as part of Oracle Platform for Open Banking, and provide seamless connectivity between Oracle FLEXCUBE and other banks to enable greater security, scalability, and transparency in the information exchanged.
Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Blockchain-as-a-Service
In November 2017, Hewlett-Packard announced the first product in the HPE Mission Critical Blockchain family. Mission Critical Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) is a solution that enables customers to run distributed ledger workloads on the highest availability enterprise platforms.
According to the official press release, the Mission Critical DLT solution is a part of HPE’s overall approach to bring an enterprise-grade capability to blockchain workloads. The solution is offered on HPE Integrity NonStop platforms, which process two out of every three credit card transactions in the world. It was developed in partnership with enterprise software firm R3, integrating the company’s distributed ledger technology with HPE’s Mission Critical platform. This combination enables customers to execute distributed-ledger workloads in environments that demand 100% fault tolerance at mission-critical levels and ensures massive scalability to grow with the business as well as SQL integration with legacy systems.
IBM Blockchain Platform
The IBM Blockchain Platform is a fully integrated blockchain platform designed to accelerate the development, governing, and operation of a multi-institution business network. The platform allows to develop an application, govern and operate the network.
The Enterprise Membership Plan includes:
Access to the network’s transaction ordering service
A highly available certificate authority
A network peer, running in a highly secure environment, isolated from other members’ environments (additional peers can be purchased for high availability)
Coming soon: Cryptographic keys stored in a hardware security module (HSM); certified to FIPS 140-2 Level 4 – the highest in the industry.
The Enterprise Plan meets production requirements including security and performance for regulated industries.
IBM Blockchain Platform is not the only way IBM is involved in powering distributed networks. In February 2016, IBM made nearly 44,000 lines of code available to the Linux Foundation’s open-source Hyperledger Project to help developers easily build secure distributed ledgers that can be used to exchange almost anything of value. Launching the new service, IBM was intended to help developers create and manage blockchain networks to power a new class of distributed ledger applications.
IBM has listed unique capabilities the new service brings, among which are pluggable architecture to allow developers use software modules (consensus module for example) that best suits their needs, a new consensus algorithm developed by IBM Research tailored to specific blockchain use cases, advanced identity management built with the latest cryptography, smart contracts that can be written in popular programming languages such as Java or Golang and executed in containers, and fine-grained privacy and confidentiality control, which allows authors of smart contracts to precisely specify both who can view them and who can execute them.
Microsoft Blockchain on Azure
Microsoft Blockchain on Azure is an application development platform from Microsoft with a set of solution templates that deploy and configure client’s choice of blockchain network with minimal Azure and blockchain knowledge.
With a handful of user inputs and a simple single-click deployment through the Azure portal, clients can provision a fully configured blockchain network topology in minutes, using Microsoft Azure compute, networking, and storage services across the globe. Microsoft has automated these time-consuming pieces to allow clients to focus on building out scenarios and applications. Clients are only charged for the underlying infrastructure resources consumed, such as compute, storage, and networking. There are no incremental charges for the solution itself.
The platform has two software plans:
Ethereum Consortium Blockchain: This solution deploys an Ethereum simulated multi-member network, consisting of a set of load-balanced transaction nodes with which an application or user can interact to submit transactions and a set of mining nodes to record transactions. It can take between 5-20 minutes to provision, depending on the size of the network. Once complete, through the administrator web page, you can configure additional Ethereum accounts to get started with smart contract, and eventually application, development. The URL for the administrator web page is the first output of the deployment.
SAP Cloud Platform Blockchain Service
In May 2017, SAP revealed its cloud-based blockchain service SAP Leonardo. With SAP Leonardo, SAP announced a digital innovation system that meaningfully integrates next-generation technologies to help its customers redefine their business – including ready-to-use blockchain technology and its SAP Cloud Platform Blockchain service.
SAP Cloud Platform Blockchain service allows for an easy setup and management of blockchain nodes. This will help customers get started with an example application to examine the potential of blockchain technology. Interested companies can begin by registering for SAP’s co-innovation program to collaborate with the company and build first solutions together.
The integration of additional powerful technologies within SAP Leonardo complements the opportunities of blockchain.
Stratis offers simple and affordable end-to-end solutions for development, testing, and deployment of native C# blockchain applications on the .Net framework.
Development. The Stratis Development Platform allows businesses and organizations to develop blockchain applications in C# utilizing the Microsoft .NET Framework. The company can assist in defining blockchain strategy and in integrating its solutions and capabilities according to business requirements.
Testing. The Cloud Stratis platform allows developers to quickly provision full blockchain nodes to test their applications. The Cloud Stratis platform can also provision blockchain nodes for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Bitshares, if the developer wants to develop an application specifically for one of these existing blockchains.
Deployment. The Cloud Stratis platform allows businesses and organizations to test and deploy their blockchain-based applications in the cloud, without having to maintain the network or full clients themselves. The implementation of the blockchain can be tailored to their needs and accessed via lite clients or APIs.
Stratis service partners include Microsoft Azure, Ledger, Poloniex, Changelly, and more.
Tencent (in development)
As Coindesk reported in April 2017, Tencent is building a suite of blockchain services, detailing the plans in a new white paper. The firm is planning to use the technology to offer digital asset management, authentication and “shared economies,” among others services. The platform called “TrustSQL” is envisioned as a three-part system, incorporating the core chain layer, a product and service layer, and an application layer.
In statements, Tencent said that it would leverage its technological resources to push the platform and that it sees the project as an open-ended one that encourages collaboration with other firms.