IBM today announced it will host the IBM Blockchain Platform on top of Kubernetes as part of an effort to eliminate infrastructure as a factor in choosing which blockchain implementation an organization should standardize on.
Jerry Cuomo, vice president of blockchain technologies for IBM, says rather than requiring organizations to adopt IBM Cloud, organizations now have the option of deploying the IBM Blockchain Platform on other public clouds such as Microsoft Azure or in their on-premises IT environment.
These days decisions concerning what platforms to employ are as technical as they are business. There are, for example, many companies that may not be comfortable deploying a blockchain network on a platform own by Amazon. Cuomo says IBM is already supporting roughly 1,100 blockchain networks, with about 10 percent of those officially in production. Support for Kubernetes should accelerate the rate at which the IBM Blockchain Platform is deployed in a production environment, he notes, because organizations will be able to leverage all the sunken costs of a widely supported open source platform.
The IBM Blockchain Platform was built on top of the open source Hyperledger Fabric developed under the auspices of The Linux Foundation. The latest version of IBM’s platform will also come with an integrated development environment (IDE) along with support for gateways to connect to multiple cloud platforms. IBM is also providing a code extension capability that promises to make it easier to integrate and manage smart contracts, as well as code samples and tutorials to ease the application-building process.
Cuomo says at this juncture, every developer should assume that every business application they build will be integrated with at least one blockchain network. IBM also makes available a set of IBM Blockchain Garage Services to teach developers how to build such applications.
IBM is not the only major IT vendor that views the rise of immutable blockchain databases as a major driver of the next generation of e-commerce. It is, however, the first major provider of a blockchain platform to leverage Kubernetes. In fact, Cuomo claims IBM is the first to bring such platforms into the age of microservices.
The degree to which that capability will push more organizations into the arms of IBM remains to be seen. However, most organizations should assume that if they are not leading the development of a blockchain network, they most certainly will be participating in one or more as the dominant players in each vertical industry roll out their own networks. They also assume that regardless of whether they build the network or merely participate in one, they will access data stored in a blockchain database. As such, Cuomo says many organizations would be well-advised to start building those applications now in anticipation of blockchain networks soon becoming pervasive.
In the meantime, it’s too early to speculate how many transactions will be occurring across those blockchain networks, but chances are good those transactions will be measured in the billions, if not trillions.