IBM has announced a cloud service for organizations requiring a secure environment for blockchain networks. According to the company, the service, which allows clients to test and run blockchain projects that handle private data securely, is ideal for organizations in regulated industries that need strong compliance measures.
“Blockchain will change the way we transfer high value goods, digital assets and financial instruments,” said Donna Dillenberger, IBM Fellow for Enterprise Solutions. “To accelerate blockchain adoption, clients must trust the infrastructure and the system that blockchain is running on. With IBM Blockchain, we are expanding access to the emerging technology — not only by making it easy to get up and running on the IBM Cloud but also by using the most secure infrastructure.”
By creating a permanent record that can’t be altered, blockchain technology is well-suited for logging and monitoring large amounts of data, such as short-term loans or the millions of parts coursing through the aviation industry’s supply chain. Blockchain technology also permits tracking diamonds and other goods where buyers want to know the origins and previous owners, Bill Fearnley Jr., a research director at International Data Corp., toldThe Wall Street Journal. “Valuable assets of any kind could be tracked better, with an unerasable history, on a blockchain,” said Fearnley.
Everledger, a company focused on ensuring authenticity and minimizing fraud in the international trade of diamonds, fine art and luxury goods, leverages blockchain technology to protect suppliers, buyers and shippers against theft, counterfeiting and other forms of corruption. Everledger is building a business network using IBM Blockchain to power its global certification system that demonstrates the origin of high-value goods and tracks them through the supply chain.
"When you are in the business of provenance, secured records, access and transparency are everything. There is no compromise when it comes to security and one cannot underestimate the expertise required to enable this," said Leanne Kemp, founder and CEO of Everledger. "Having the opportunity to build, test, scale and refine Everledger on IBM Blockchain, underpinned by a security-rich infrastructure, is a game changer. It has accelerated our ability to move fast and deliver the most innovative solutions to our partners internationally and confidentially."
The new secure cloud blockchain environment is based on IBM’s LinuxONE, a Linux-only server designed for high-security projects. “IBM clients rely on the enterprise-grade platform for Linux technology as a trustful, reliable and highly secure system to confidently deploy business-essential applications, optimize operating costs and achieve seamless infrastructure growth,” notes a LinuxONE white paper. “IBM LinuxONE systems and solutions provide users with a flexible yet powerful infrastructure that helps ensure that a business receives the performance, reliability, security and processing power it needs to address increasingly sophisticated and demanding application requirements.”
Based on the IBM z13 introduced earlier this year, the LinuxONE Emperor can scale up to 8,000 virtual machines or thousands of containers. IBM says that the Emperor system has the fastest processor in the industry and is optimized for the new application economy and hybrid cloud era. The new secure cloud blockchain services are currently in limited beta.
The latest version of IBM Blockchain is available through Bluemix, IBM’s cloud platform. Based on open standards, Bluemix is one of the largest open, public cloud deployments in the world, featuring tools and services spanning categories of big data, mobile, Watson, analytics, integration, DevOps, security and the Internet of Things (IoT). IBM blockchain software is developed in the framework of the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Project, a collaborative effort started in December, to establish, build and sustain an open source non-Bitcoin blockchain.
In February, Bitcoin Magazinereported that IBM was deploying a Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) for developers and making tens of thousands of lines of code available to the Hyperledger Project. In April, IBM announced new cloud services based on the company’s Hyperledger code and Bluemix. Recently, IBM announced two high-profile cloud blockchain projects developed by Mizuho Financial Group in Japan and Crédit Mutuel Arkéa in France.
CIO Magazinenotes that a data breach in a blockchain project could be potentially devastating. Therefore, it’s important to find ways to maximize the security and compliance of the technology for business-critical applications. “The average total cost of a data breach for enterprises reached $4 million last year and with security incidents up by 64 percent in 2015, the risks are higher than ever,” notes the IBM press release. “Security is critical — not just within the blockchain itself but with all the technology touching the ledger.”
In its effort to become one of the top players in the emerging sector of distributed ledger technology for the enterprise, IBM is leveraging its established market — large firms with high-security concerns and a need for transparent compliance with regulations — and the fast-emerging trend toward cloud computing.