IBM has announced upgrades to its Blockchain Platform, according to a report by Ledger Insights on June 18.
The new IBM Blockchain Platform will reportedly be able to run on multiple cloud networks, such as major tech corporation Microsoft’sAzure or Amazon Web Services (AWS).
This is apparently the main upgrade over its previous iteration, which was available solely through IBM’s cloud. The multicloud platform will be available via Kubernetes, a container program that will reportedly allow users to scale their blockchain networks as needed.
One of the main upshots of its new multicloud framework is that IBM Blockchain Platform 2.0 that IBM boasts on its website is its interoperability. According to the website, the multicloud platform lets the blockchain participants provide governance across multiple cloud networks, even those with differing privacy environments.
IBM Blockchain CTO Gari Singh commented on this cross-network advantage, saying:
“We want to bring on XYZ company, but XYZ has a contract with Azure or AWS or Oracle,” he said. “How do we allow those guys to connect up a peer [node] to join the network and how can you support that?” […] We can now actually leverage all the great things that are in Hypeledger Fabric, and we can support you wherever you need to be. And we can also help to support networks that want to work with IBM, but they have other members that don’t.”
According to the report, IBM’s platform is a variation on the open source blockchain platform Hyperledger Fabric, which is fundamentally the same but with the addition of ease-of-access tools provided by IBM. The tools reportedly streamline the process of launching a permissioned network, assisting with necessary tasks such as assigning governance and creating consensus mechanisms.
As previously reported by Cointelegraph, IBM recently partnered with Brazilianpayments non-profit Câmara Interbancária de Pagamentos to release a blockchain ID platform built on Hyperledger Fabric.
The platform, called “Device ID,” will reportedly act as an authenticator for digital signatures on mobile devices, presumably aimed at preventing fraud and other criminal activities. Nine banks and the Brazilian Payment System are reportedly set to make use of the new blockchain verification platform.
Facebook announced its new cryptocurrency Libra, which aims to enable developers and businesses to build new, inclusive financial service products for people all around the world, according to the company.
The cryptocurrency comes with the new executable bytecode programming Move, which can be used to implement custom transactions and smart contracts. Move can be used to define custom resource types with semantics inspired by linear logic. A resource can never be copied or implicitly discarded, only moved between program storage locations.
Libra is centered around the new Libra blockchain and the value of the currency is backed by a reserve of real assets called the Libra Reserve.
“Moving money around the world should be as easy and cheap as sending a text message. No matter where you live, what you do, or how much you earn,” Facebook wrote on the Libra website.
Applitools Eyes is now available for open-source libraries, allowing open-source projects to add the automated visual testing solution to their library for free.
In addition, Applitools partnered up with This Dot’s Open Source Apprentice Program to encourage young developers to contribute to open source, according to the company.
“By making our technology freely available for anyone in the world to use, we can help mentor generations of developers and technologists through more inclusivity,” said Moshe Milman, co-founder and COO at Applitools.
Hyperledger announces new members
Hyperledger, an open- source collaborative effort to further blockchain technologies, announced that it is adding 8 new members including Ethereum Foundation, Microsoft, Nornickel and Salesforce.
Hyperledger allows organizations to create industry-specific applications, platforms and hardware systems to support their individual business transactions by offering enterprise-grade, open source distributed ledger frameworks and code bases.
Last month, Hyperledger added its 13th project, Hyperledger Aries, a shared infrastructure of tools that enables the exchange of blockchain-based data, supports peer-to-peer messaging in various scenarios, and facilitates interoperable interaction between different blockchains and other distributed ledger technologies (DLTs).
“Our new members illustrate the breadth of organizations that see the value of contributing to the Hyperledger community,” said Brian Behlendorf, executive director of Hyperledger.
Threat Stack announced that it is adding a new application security monitoring solution to its cloud security platform.
The solution will add runtime application self protection and risk detection capabilities, which will provide customers with contextualized information from every aspect of the cloud stack throughout the entire SDLC, according to the company.
Threat Stack Application Security Monitoring includes features like proactive risk reduction, targeted real-time attack blocking, improved insight across the stack, developer context and eLearning.
“With the rapid adoption of cloud-native architectures – including microservices, containers, and serverless – application security is more important than ever,” said Brian M. Ahern, CEO of Threat Stack.
Appery.io adds Ionic 4 integration
Digital software solutions provider Exadel announced that its low-code application development platform Appery.io now integrates with Ionic 4.
Additionally, Appery.io Ionic 4 framework supports the latest Angular version 7 and Cordova 8 and includes overall performance improvements, modern web platform features and CSS variables.
“Now Appery.io users can seamlessly build an Ionic 4 app directly in the platform. Appery.io is dedicated to helping developers effortlessly build quality, high-performing applications and the Ionic 4 integration is our continuation of this commitment,” said Dmitry Binunsky, VP of products and platforms practice at Exadel.
Today IBM announced IBM Blockchain Platform Multicloud. The big news is that IBM’s blockchain solution now runs on other clouds, be that Azure or AWS as well as on premises.
Until recently, if you wanted to use IBM Blockchain Platform, that meant you had to use the IBM Cloud. Many enterprise networks are consortia, and even if the founding members used IBM, new participants are likely to have existing cloud deployments on other networks.
At the Hyperledger Global Forum at the end of last year, IBM Blockchain CTO Gari Singh explained. “When we started out, our distribution of Fabric, the IBM Blockchain Platform was a [IBM] cloud first solution. At the beginning that made a lot of sense because a lot of times the networks were more pilot networks or you had a single entity that was the backbone of the network.”
As networks and ecosystems have expanded and entered production, the situation is more complicated. Singh gave an example of a consortium. “We want to bring on XYZ company, but XYZ has a contract with Azure or AWS or Oracle,” he said. “How do we allow those guys to connect up a peer [node] to join the network and how can you support that?” That multi-cloud and on-premise feature is the most significant change in IBM Blockchain Platform 2.0.
Another is the IBM Blockchain code is available in containerized form using Kubernetes.
As Jerry Cuomo, IBM’s VP of Blockchain Technology said in a blog post, “now it’s time for those networks to grow anywhere.”
What is it?
But the real question is what exactly is IBM Blockchain Platform? We’ve found that there’s a lot of confusion in the marketplace. Even though IBM is an important contributor to open source Hyperledger Fabric, it is not owned by IBM. It’s not “IBM’s” Hyperledger Fabric. And the version of Fabric delivered in IBM’s Blockchain Platform is identical to the open source version, but IBM’s Blockchain Platform provides additional tooling.
That tooling aims to make it easier to build, for example, a trade finance solution or a supply chain solution. It makes it quicker to set up a basic blockchain and deploy smart contracts. There’s also an extension to Visual Studio Code the popular software that developers use for coding.
While it’s entirely possible to use Hyperledger Fabric and get it up and running yourself, the IBM tooling aims to make it easier to set up a permissioned network. That involves defining which organizations run nodes, establishing the trust and consensus models, and what the rules are for channels, which is IBM’s concept of mini private blockchains.
Enterprises need value-added services to be able to monitor data, to ensure the nodes are up and running, to check that data is backed up and to enable data to be restored.
And if different parts of the network are spread amongst a variety of cloud providers, there still needs to be one command and control center for monitoring.
Singh summed it up: “This vision is of blockchain at its best. It’s not one vendor controlling the software. It’s not one vendor controlling the cloud. It’s not one organization controlling everything. We can now actually leverage all the great things that are in Hypeledger Fabric, and we can support you wherever you need to be. And we can also help to support networks that want to work with IBM, but they have other members that don’t.”
IBM also took the opportunity to highlight a few client projects. One is the advertising blockchain network from MediaOcean, which is in production. When it announced in June 2018 brands included Kellogg, Pfizer and Unilever.
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Amazon Web Services is making its managed blockchain service publicly available in the United States, following in the footprints of its competitors, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and IBM.
The move by the tech giants underscores the rapid rise of blockchain’s distributed ledger technology, which has been adopted by enterprises ranging from food producers to financial services companies as a way to manage complex chains of supplies and partners.
Blockchain technology was first introduced as the technology behind cryptocurrency transactions and has since expanded to underpin a distributed ledger, a computerized database shared by various businesses and institutions.
Any changes or updates are copied instantly to all participants and cannot be changed – the ledger is immutable – and is governed by rules established in computer code. This eliminates the need for a central authority to monitor it and is a powerful deterrent to fraud.
Setting up a company’s blockchain can be difficult and time-consuming, the reason businesses often hire expensive consultants to advise them on implementation. But blockchain-as-a-service, in which a cloud provider such as AWS or Azure manages the setup, speeds up and simplifies the process as well as cuts costs.
Amazon inaugurated its blockchain service – called Amazon Managed Blockchain or AWB – at the end of 2018 and has kept it in preview state for the past four months. This week, Amazon launched it, initially for use in the eastern United States before expanding its access nationwide, and offers the Hyperledger Fabric framework as a platform to run the network.
Amazon will add the Ethererum framework later this year.
Amazon’s service will allow customers to choose a framework, add members to the network, then configure the member nodes – participating computers – to process transaction requests. AMB handles the background processes, so a blockchain network can be created that spans several AWS cloud accounts and configures the settings for software, security and networks.
Amazon initially expressed skepticism about blockchain technology. But Microsoft and IBM jumped into the business early, Microsoft Azure in 2015 and IBM in 2015, followed by Google Cloud earlier this year.
Azure has reportedly set up networks for hundreds of customers.
At this week’s launch, Rahul Pathak, general manager of Amazon Managed Blockchain, explained why the company entered the blockchain arena: “Customers want to use blockchain frameworks like Hyperledger and Ethereum to create blockchain networks so they can conduct business quickly with an immutable record of transactions but without the need for a centralized authority,” he said. “However, they find the frameworks difficult to install, configure and manage.”
Amazon Managed Blockchain sets up the network, configures the nodes, manages certificates and security and scales the network. “Customers can now get a functioning network set up quickly and easily so they can focus on application development instead of keeping a blockchain network up and running,” he said.
Amazon provides the computing and storage power through its cloud network to allow customers to choose the mix of resources for their blockchain networks.
Ironically, the aim of a distributed ledger is to avoid a centralized authority. But the cloud provider will act as a guiding manager of the blockchain. While unable to influence decision-making, the cloud provider in effect controls the price and terms of supply for the distributed ledger.
Blockchain appears to be making inroads into a number of industries. Nestle, the food and beverage giant which has more than 2,000 brands distributed across 189 countries, has chosen Amazon’s blockchain to improve supply chain transparency, allowing precise tracking of materials used in its products.
“Amazon Managed Blockchain will enable our customers to track their products on the blockchain from the farm all the way through to consumption,” says Armin Nehzat, a Nestle digital technology manager.
One of the innovations created by blockchain technology is a self-executing contract written into the ledger’s lines of code. As a result, the contracts cannot be changed, guaranteeing that their terms will be carried out.
Because the contracts are distributed among the blockchain’s members, who all must validate any updates, no one player can fraudulently execute or change them.
Advocates for blockchain technology say the system promises to transform the way companies do business, removing the need to police contracts, since they will be carried out automatically. But first businesses have to overcome their reluctance to become involved in the complex, costly process of setting up a blockchain.
The launch of blockchain-as-a-service companies simplifies that process and, its Silicon Valley supporters say, is a giant step on the way to changing the economy.
In two separate announcements last week, Google and Linux’s Hyperledger project launched tools aimed at enabling secure identity management for enterprises via mobile and other devices.
Google unveiled five upgrades to its BeyondCorp cloud enterprise security service that enables identity and access management for employees, corporate partners, and customers.
Hyperledger, the blockchain-based, open-source project under the Linux Foundation, announced that its Indy distributed ledger for identity management is now live after nearly a year of development.
Google wants to make its enterprise cloud platform the center of the universe for identity and access management (IAM) and security, according to Jack Gold, principal analyst with J. Gold Associates.
“Cloud, in the past, has been questioned by some organizations as not being as secure as on-prem[ises],” Gold said. “With these announcements, Google is trying to show that it can provide very high-level security features that are as good as, and in some cases even better than, on-prem solutions – even when running on their cloud.”
Google’s upgrades include context-aware enhancements through the launch of the BeyondCorp Alliance, which is a partnership with endpoint security and management vendors who feed device posture data into Google’s context-aware access engine.
“Initially, we are working with Check Point, Lookout, Palo Alto Networks, Symantec and VMware, and will make this capability available to joint customers in the coming months,” Google said in a statement.
Google’s G Suite customers will automatically get the upgrades.
There are a number of medium and some large enterprise customers who have standardized on G Suite, so the upgrades could prevent, “say, a hacker getting your credentials and trying to log in from London when the system knows you are actually in Boston,” Gold said.
“There is also an API that allows [identity and access management] functions to be added to any on-premises or public cloud web-based apps,” Gold continued. “It’s basically a service you can call. And they are working with the MDM vendors to make the link from devices to bring context info to the app servers in the cloud. This can help with access security and help avert data breaches.”
Additionally, Google added:
Security keys for Android phones based on FIDO (Fast IDentity Online) Alliance authentication standards, which it said will help defend against phishing attacks.
Cloud Identity enhancements, including single sign-on capabilities to thousands of cloud-hosted apps and integration with human resource management systems (HRMS).
General availability of Identity Platform, an encryption protected, single sign-in authentication tool.
And the availability of Managed Service for Microsoft Active Directory for select customers.
The most interesting upgrade, Gold said, is the addition of Google’s key technology to all Android phones (running Android 7 and above), which will turn the phone into a two-factor authentication device.
Everyone is carrying a phone these days, so the ability to work as a 2FA device without having to have something unique (like an RSA token), and [being] much more secure than via a text message, is pretty interesting,” Gold said. “It should be attractive and cost effective to many more enterprises beyond the extremely security-conscious regulated industries like financial and healthcare.”
Hyperledger Indy, a distributed ledger built for decentralized identity, leverages blockchain technology to create a platform for issuing, storing, and verifying credentials that are transferable, private, and secure.
“An enterprise can use Hyperledger Indy for managing employee identities and, with the right set-up and agents, manage them over mobile devices,” a Hyperledger spokesperson said via email. “However, the self-sovereign nature of Indy goes much further, as it lets individuals own their own data and creates trusted frameworks for employees, partners, customers, etc.”
With its activation notification, the Linux Foundation also announced it has a number of “diverse” people and organizations already building “real-world solutions” using Indy.
For example, the Sovrin Foundation has organized the largest production network powered by Indy. The Province of British Columbia was the first to deploy a production use case to the Sovrin Network with work on its Verifiable Organizations Network, a platform for managing trust at an institutional level.
Fintech firms, software makers, telecom providers and other businesses have joined forces to develop a blockchain-based network that will enable anyone to exchange digital credentials online and without the risk of unintentionally exposing any private data.
The companies are part of the Sovrin Foundation, a new nonprofit organization now developing the Sovrin Network, which could enable anyone to globally exchange pre-verified data with any entity also on the network.
The online credentials would be akin to identify information a person might have in a physical wallet: a driver’s license, a bank debit card or a company ID.
Instead of a physical card, however, the IDs in digital wallets would be encrypted and link back to the institutions that created them, such as a bank, a government or even an employer, which, through the blockchain, would automatically verify information to a requestor.
The owner of the digital wallet can determine what information a requesting business receives, and no more.
British Columbia created an online directory service using an Indy-powered blockchain to enable businesses to quickly verify whether a client they’re dealing with is legally registered to do businessas as a corporation. The blockchain-based service can also find “Doing Business As” names registered by corporations.
In addition, BC’s blockchain ledger makes applying for credentials faster and less error prone, and issuing (and reissuing) credentials simpler and more secure, as well as being able to verify those credentials from anywhere in the world.
“Can we create a quick and easy way to navigate through the maze of services from your local, provincial, or federal governments?” BC’s product lead John Jordan said, referring to his time working for the federal government in Ottawa.
Jordan estimated BC spent about $1 million while Ontario and the Canadian government each spent another $300,000 to $500,000, mostly on salaries for a handful of developers to create the identify management system.
“We’ve got a $2 million investment that we’re all benefitting from, and we didn’t have to pay $2 million, right?” Jordan said. “So we actually saved taxpayers millions of dollars.” He noted that the larger team had richer ideas, delivered code faster, and tested it more thoroughly, a collaborative approach that benefited everyone.
Verify the License Administration Console VPX software is version 11.12 as there are known issues that prevent the use of Desktop Studio from configuring the XenDesktop site to use License Administration Console VPX version 11.12 through PowerShell.
The recommended way to correct this is to use a locally-installed license server first. (This can be uninstalled once XenDesktop has been reconfigured to use the VPX server.)
A windows based license server needs to be installed first to pass the initial site configuration page for configuring licensing. Later you can point the Studio to a License Administration Console VPX Server.
When configuring XenDesktop 7.0, 7.1, and 7.5 or XenApp 7.5, use the PowerShell Set-Configsite cmdlet to point to License Server VPX.
If doing a fresh install, install and configure XenDesktop and XenApp using the product installer within the software package, then use PowerShell to reconfigure and point to the License Server VPX.