Cloud solutions offering blockchain as a service or BaaS are aimed at reimagining the business processes. Leading companies offering BaaS include Microsoft and Oracle, wherein Oracle has filed multiple blockchain patents to secure blockchain based innovations.
Various patents are filed regularly to protect innovative aspects of blockchain based products and services. One such example includes US Patent 20190102409 filed by Oracle covering “SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR MANAGING A BLOCKCHAIN CLOUD SERVICE”. This patent discloses a system and method for implementing a distributed ledger as a blockchain cloud service. The blockchain cloud service can include nodes of the distributed ledger and a management console component. The management console component can include a web application running in a script runtime environment, backend of APIs for communicating with various nodes of the blockchain cloud service, and client APIs configured to be invoked by a client application.
What is BaaS?
For anyone who is familiar with the functioning of the blockchain technology, and works or intends to work with various applications surrounding it, Blockchain as a Service is no less than a mixed sigh of excitement and relief. Excitement, because it is a milestone in blockchain technology itself, and relief because it will lead to wider adoption of blockchain within the business community. A unique offering that puts forth an opportunity for businesses to create and host various applications and smart contracts related to blockchain technology, the BaaS, as it is more popularly called, is a most fascinating development in the blockchain ecosystem.
The major keystone for the BaaS is the cloud, which can be used dually to control cloud-based solutions as well as for efficient management of all necessary errands and activities for the smooth functioning of allied infrastructure via a cloud-based service provider. In its operational model, it is quite similar to the Software as a Service (SaaS) typology, and is no less than an emerging hero in the business world.
Why such hype about BaaS?
There is really no smoke without a fire. And, in case of BaaS, there is not just smoke but also some fine, attractive sparks. BaaS has created quite some stir because of its features of simplicity, transparency, economy and efficiency. There is no doubting the fact that some of the largest tech-giants like Microsoft, IBM and Oracle have special departments dedicated to this service.
What are the challenges to BaaS?
The first and foremost challenge is upkeeping of the functionality of BaaS itself, in terms of the widespread usage and coinage it has seemed to earn itself all around the globe. People generally use the term for any case where a node or server has been set up from a template. The key lies in focusing on “as a Service”, which clearly indicates the role of the blockchain as a wider one, including monitoring, management and maintenance. Besides, all of the three terms might sound similar but are greatly varied and complex on their own. All this, and also the added function of hosting solutions makes the BaaS an attractive, but at the same time a challenging protocol.
How does BaaS work?
The best way to understand the functioning of BaaS is through an example. Imagine trying to host a party for a particular occasion. You have two options ahead of you. One, you choose a venue and make the bookings yourself and make all the purchases related to the party on your own. You also proceed to doing all the other arrangements for the party yourself – from decorations to cooking to cleaning. Lastly, you host the party where everyone has a lot of fun. Great job!
The second option you have is to plan the venue and budget for the party. Next, you appoint someone else to help you in other chores – buying stuff, decorating the place, cooking and cleaning. You host a great party and everyone seems to have a lot of fun, including you. Great job again!
The difference, however, lies in which of the two options seem more hassle-free to you. With BaaS, the customer pays a fee to the external service provider, who then proceeds to make all the necessary technical and infrastructural arrangements, as per your choices. The service provider deals with the maintenance and set up on behalf of the customer, besides other support activities like hosting, allocation of resources and security, while the customer can have more time and less worries to be able to focus his faculties towards the core job. The infrastructural issues are not his to cope with.
Advantages of BaaS
BaaS, no doubt, comes with multiple advantages in its pocket, such as, for example:
(a) It provides access to the development model anytime, anywhere.
(b) It is a comparatively economical means of technical development for a business
(c) There is much more security guaranteed, thanks to the features of transparency blockchain brings round.
(d) The BaaS is a highly compatible service for an astonishing majority of business platforms.
Disadvantages of BaaS
The disadvantages of BaaS come tagging along with the disadvantages any blockchain service has these days. Such disadvantages include:
(a) Blockchain platforms are not entirely indestructible or impenetrable, only they come with higher levels of security than others
(b) The service can host excessive complexity, just like other blockchain platforms
(c) At times, blockchains tend to get very inefficient, if not entirely then at least in specific tasks
(d) At times, the users can face issues related to network security.
Examples of BaaS
There are, as of today, a healthy number of start-ups that make millions of dollars, all thanks to the adoption of the ground-breaking blockchain technology. The success of the technology had been quite an enigma to the outsider, but not after the Linux Foundation, in 2015, set forth what it called an umbrella project. The project took help from collaborators to launch open source blockchains and related tools as a means of spreading awareness and also enriching the performance and reliability of blockchain systems. Top international companies like IBM, Intel and Hitachi participated in the project and the aim was to pave the way for the blockchain to emerge as a major contributor to world economy, by actively channeling global business transactions.
The IBM, on the above lines, soon began to offer Hyperledger Fabric, a tool fostered from blockchain, which acts as an overall solution for a more efficient and robust architecture. With blockchain now making it to the cover page, businesses are all set to upgrade their existing legacy systems.
Many other references can be made, be it the opportunity by GrandTime and Verizon, or the Disney and DragonChain initiative. The underlying fact is that the BaaS has added many more feathers to the cap pf blockchain, making it more acceptable and reliable in the business world, and ensuring that it is here to stay, despite the dense fog of apprehension and rumours surrounding it.
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