IBM deepens its commitment to open source Hyperledger Fabric

IBM Fabric Console

IBM Fabric ConsoleIBM is deepening its contributions to Hyperledger Fabric. It is providing code which it (IBM) says makes it easier to develop and deploy blockchain solutions for business.

Per Kareem Yusuf, the IBM General Manager, AI Applications and Blockchain: “We know that many customers working with open-source need extended support, and we will continue to provide access to our expertise through our services business, which continues to grow.

“We are also announcing an entirely new Hyperledger Fabric support offering, which will include access to IBM Certified Images, Code Security Scans, Break/Fix Level 3 Support and 24/7 customer support. This offering will be available in the fall through the Red Hat Marketplace and will offer the same level of Fabric support that previously was only available to our IBM Blockchain Platform customers.

“We are also donating the code that supports token exchanges on Hyperledger Fabric, Fabric Token SDK, as well as support for DLT Interoperability.

Hyperledger Fabric

Hyperledger Fabric is the open-source project from the Linux Foundation. Its attraction is it is a modular blockchain framework for enterprise blockchain platforms. Intended as a foundation for developing enterprise-grade applications and industry solutions, its architecture exploits plug-and-play components so as to accommodate a wide range of use cases.

To date, there are more than 100K contributing organizations and more than 15K engineer contributors working together. As such Hyperledger Fabric can be said to offer an approach to consensus which:

  • facilitates performance at an enterprise scale
  • preserves the data privacy that enterprises demand.

The IBM Blockchain Platform Console/Fabric Operation Console contribution

Most enterprises need tools for network management and governance. Such tools enable them to build and scale blockchain networks quickly – and to manage governance.

Part of the IBM contribution is the underlying code for the IBM Blockchain Platform Console. IBM expects this to become part of what is now the Fabric Operations Console. This Fabric Operations Console:

  • allows different platforms to integrate with a Hyperledger Fabric network
  • enhances standardisation
  • improves ease of use of the platform.

Enterprise Times: what does this mean

It is not easy to determine the significance of this IBM donation. On the one hand, IBM is contributing both knowledge and capability in an area where enterprises value greater capabilities. On the other hand, it is hard to assess whether the Fabric Operations Console will become anything of great use.

More interesting to Enterprise Times is the IBM “code that supports token exchanges on Hyperledger Fabric, Fabric Token SDK, as well as support for DLT Interoperability”. But there is no detail and this interoperability is a critical issue.


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Kaleido open sources consortium system for enterprise blockchains – Ledger Insights

Today, as part of the Hyperledger Global Forum, Kaleido has open sourced the multi-party system Firefly, which has been accepted as a Hyperledger Labs project. Separately Kaleido announced that it now supports Hyperledger Fabric as part of its solution offering, a combination of a Blockchain as a Service and building blocks to create blockchain applications.

So what is the Firefly multi-party system? When people think about blockchain apps, they tend to think about the blockchain protocol and the smart contracts on top of that. But getting a solution up and running for a consortium requires more than that. It needs a fair bit of plumbing.

When an enterprise uses a blockchain, they want to integrate the solution with their own backend systems. And the blockchain alone is not enough. They often want to send peer-to-peer messages, files or other data between one or more blockchain participants, which are confidential and not intended for the blockchain.

According to Kaleido, these two plumping features – internal integration and peer-to-peer sharing – are where consortia spend the bulk of their blockchain budgets. And Kaleido should know because they’ve been involved in some major integrations, including agribusiness consortium Covantis and the trade finance solution Komgo where they supported the likes of Citibank, ING, MUFG and Shell.

Apart from the blockchain and the two plumbing features, there’s also a control panel where the consortium manages the configuration details. Together these create a multi-party system.

Many of the moving parts are themselves open source software, such as the underlying blockchains and decentralized file storage. In terms of enterprise blockchains, Firefly supports Enterprise Ethereum flavors Hyperledger Besu and Quorum, as well as Hyperledger Fabric. It will explore supporting Corda.

Kaleido isn’t the only one to announce a new project Hyperledger project today. IBM said it’s contributing Hyperledger Fabric Tokens and the IBM Blockchain Platform Console. And Japan’s Datachain introduced YUI.


Ledger Insights
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