On February 26th, Iattended the HyperledgerMorristown Meetup at the Morris County Library. The place was very impressive. I passed by a ton of amazing books andentered a meeting room filled with equally amazing people. After we were graciously welcomed by one of theorganizers, Roman Anderson, they got right down to business.
Now, before I dive intotalking about the event, you are probably wondering, “What is Hyperledger, andwhy is he writing about it?” Frankly,about eight months ago, I would have been asking the same question. OK, I amlying a bit, but once I saw the agenda, I hit the web and started refreshingmyself on the subject. Here was the meeting agenda:
- Hyperledger 2.0 release and Global Update
- Oracle – Blockchain Platform and Roadmap
- Enterprise Ethereum Alliance –Introduction and Updates
- Alibaba Cloud – Newest Release – ECS Gen 6with Kubernetes
- DataKNOX – Alontrus Group Demo of DLTEngine Running on ECS 6
- Hedera Hashgraph – Boost – Their NewPlatform to Launch and Grow Startups
I am not going to try toteach you about blockchain. There is plenty of stuff on the web for that. I will, however, try to convince you of whyyou should start paying more attention to it. Pleasenote that blockchain comprises blocks of data chained together, and it’s a typeof distributed ledger technology (DLT). Thereis much more to DLT, but for the purpose of this article, I will use the terms“DLT” and “blockchain” interchangeably.
Now, if you go back tothe agenda, it will hopefully make more sense to you. All of the topics relateto the phenomenal growth of the DLT (blockchain) ecosystem. In other words, blockchain is beginning tocrawl out of the ocean, and is starting to walk on all four legs. (Ugh, I know thatwas bad).
I do need to explain whatHyperledgeris, as it’s in the name of the group. Hyperledger is an open-sourcecollaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchaintechnologies. This still may meannothing to you, but let’s focus this key term: “open source.” It has grown to the point where it now hasthe backing of some of the most prominent companies in the world. Below, Imention a few of their premier members, all of whom offer products and serviceson the platform.
For example, Deepak Goel,senior director of software development for the Oracle Blockchain Platform, spoke atlength about the Oracle blockchain road map for 2020. After about 40 minutes of speaking, he wasactually surprised when he was told that he had three minutes left. He could have gone on for another hour. Thecoolest thing about the road map is how easy Oracle makes it to get into DLT,to overcome the hurdles to entry that you may have heard about.
The Alibaba Cloud couldn’t let me purchase the knock-off Nike sneakers I wanted, but it did enlighten me on how the whole cloud environment is beginning to get commoditized. Alibaba provides functions similar to those of Amazon Web Services (AWS), but it’s about 40% cheaper. When the presenter asked if anybody had heard of China’s Alibaba Cloud, nobody raised their hands. What’s interesting about Alibaba Cloud is that it provides redundancy all over the world at much lower prices than the traditional guys. It also offers more powerful machines for less and, of course, it supports blockchain. I just wish they’d throw in the sneakers, as well.
DataKNOX from Alontrus Group
Now, the best for last: the DataKNOX guys, fromtheAlontrusGroup(Sparta). The product was created by twogentlemen with completely different backgrounds, Dev Bhattacharyya and RichardBrownstein. Just as the name “DataKNOX” implies, it’s the Fort Knox for yourdata, leveraging the best characteristics of DLT — immutability, security,decentralization — and I have to say “security” again.
DLT is an excellent choice in this age ofcyberattacks. A distributed ledger makes it hard for hackers to access yourdatabase. This is because everything is transparent, so it is easy to traceback to the hacker. Also, in order to get into your database, hackers needsubstantial computational power, which might not be possible for the majorityof them out there. Now, before you tell me to hold on a second, did I saytransparent? That’s where the KNOX partof the name comes in. Every piece ofdata is hashed by 512-bit encryption, military-grade, but I am getting ahead ofmyself.
Think of DataKNOX as a connector for your legacydata that can stream it very fast. Itcan connect your data to the cloud with blazing speed and security, giving youthe ability to leverage any business intelligence/artificial intelligence toolsto further extend your workflow and processes. Suppose a patient needs to transfer from one hospital to another. Becauseof massive cyberattacks, many hospitals are staying off the web. With DataKNOX,however, you can safely transmit the patient’s data from one hospital to theother, leveraging encryption not only in flight but also at rest.
The best part is that the data is encrypted and isstored in a massive DLT database across thousands of nodes all over the world(The “d” in “distributed”). If you everget hacked, you can feel comfortable, knowing that your data stored in thecloud is 100% real and safe. The beautyof this process is that you can focus on the data, and not on theinfrastructure. You don’t need to worry about massive transformationalgyrations that today’s cloud providers make you go through. Instead, you focus on your applications andhow you can help that patient move seamlessly from one hospital to another, fullyknowing that his or her data is completely safe and, more importantly,cryptographically backed up in the cloud.
I walked away from the event very excited, thinking about the 1990s and the growth of the internet since then. In a similar fashion, blockchain development, tools, and products are exploding all over the planet. According to LinkedIn, blockchain is one of the most in-demand job skills in 2020. It is definitely similar to the 1990s, when different technologies rose and fell and eventually coalesced into something that today we cannot live without, for better or for worse. Blockchain is similar: It is exciting, explosive and is fraught with dangerous twists and turns. After all, walking out of the water was just the beginning. Now it’s time to grow some fur.
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