Amazon Web Services (AWS), the secure cloud services platform from Amazon.com, Inc (AMZN) that offers computational power, data storage, content delivery, and hosting services, has made a foray into the newly emerging “blockchain-as-a-service” (BaaS) offering.
The new service from AWS was launched late last week under the name AWS Blockchain Templates, and will now allow AWS to directly compete against similar offerings from Oracle Corp (ORCL) and International Business Machines Corp (IBM).
How does Blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) Work?
Though blockchain is acknowledged as an efficient and secure data storage system, the process of creating, running, and managing a blockchain is very complex. This complexity has led many businesses and enterprises to stay away from implementing this efficient system, despite the numerous benefits it offers.
To tackle this problem, the BaaS model allows “outsourcing” blockchain operational work, allowing the purchasing business to focus on its core business activities. (See also, How Blockchain is Revolutionizing Content Distribution.)
Think about BaaS as a way to rent a blockchain from a blockchain hosting provider, who takes care of getting started and having the required blockchain deployed and configured to your choice within minutes on their own servers. This is akin to Software As A Service (SaaS) model commonly used in the information technology industry.
The Baas space is getting crowded with global tech giants already in the game. During March of last year, IBM became the first premier organization to unveil its Hyperledger-based blockchain-as-a-service offering. It was followed by another tech giant, Oracle, launching its similar cloud-based service that was built on the open-source Hyperledger Fabric project. Chinese companies like Baidu Inc (BIDU) and Tencent are already in the game, and the leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider Huawei announced its Hyperledger-based blockchain service last week in China.
Other reports indicate that Alphabet Inc’s Google (GOOGL) is also working on a blockchain product that is expected to be offered through its cloud business. Additionally, Hyperledger Cello is a similar hosted blockchain utility of the Hyperledger project that is gaining traction in the corporate world. (See also: Why Google is Building its Own Blockchain?)
AWS Blockchain Templates
Using AWS Blockchain Templates, one can quickly set up Ethereum- or Hyperledger Fabric-compatible blockchain networks. AWS templates are certified to work as open-source frameworks, which allow easy, instant deployment and configuration of blockchain software that helps a business create their own instance of a decentralized network as per their choice. One can select distributed consensus algorithms and access control features of their choice. Following that, the business can create the other necessary artifacts for the network, like smart contracts, apps, and permission and access control system, which are necessary to carry on smooth transactions on the blockchain.
AWS Blockchain Templates offer the clients necessary tools for easy management, monitoring, and real-time browsing of their hosted blockchains. Like the standard SaaS billing model, AWS Blockchain Templates are charged on a “Pay-as-you-go” basis, where the client pays only for the service and resources used. AWS also offers on-demand start-up and shut-down functionality to best fit the business needs.
Like any self-hosted and self-operated blockchain, such BaaS blockchains will find use across a variety of industry applications, including those for financial services, supply chain management, Internet of Things, and healthcare. (See also, Banks Claim They're Building Blockchains. They're Not.)