do you look if you’re seeking enterprise-class software and hardware blockchain
technologies? SAP and Intel hope you’ll turn to them. This month, the companies
announced a new partnership designed to
bring integrated software and hardware blockchain solutions to the enterprise.
a Piece of the Blockchain Pie
follow enterprise blockchain news, you’re probably familiar with SAP’s recent
ventures into the world of blockchain software. In June, the German-based
company announced a blockchain service for its
enterprise cloud computing platform, called SAP Cloud Platform Blockchain. It’s
designed to help enterprises and enterprise consortiums build blockchains using
SAP’s cloud infrastructure.
same time, the company announced a solution called SAP HANA Blockchain, which
makes it possible to use SAP’s cloud-based data management tools in conjunction
with blockchain data. That may sound relatively boring from a business point of
view, but from a technical perspective, SAP HANA Blockchain could be a
groundbreaking project. It enables users to interact with data stored on a
blockchain (provided the blockchain lives in SAP’s cloud) using standard SQL
queries, instead of having to learn a new set of skills.
part, Intel has not jumped into the distributed ledger world as wholeheartedly.
Apart from its work on Hyperledger Sawtooth, the chip maker hasn’t made
many headlines for its moves in the blockchain ecosystem.
out, however, that Intel has been quietly working on hardware optimizations in
its processors that it said “can improve the privacy,
security, scalability and trust across blockchain networks” and build what it
terms “Trusted Infrastructure.” Although the company has yet
to release detailed documentation about how these optimizations work in
conjunction with blockchain applications specifically, it indicated that they
include optimizations for cryptographic algorithms, which can be useful for
speeding the heavy-duty number crunching that is part and parcel for most
It also said
that its Software Guard Extensions feature “can help protect
blockchain transactions, and help improve throughput and consensus efficiency.”
That feature basically allows developers to enable hardware-level protections
that prevent certain code from being modified or accessed. However, it wasn’t
designed specifically for blockchain-related applications, and Intel might be
overselling the feature’s ability to secure blockchain transactions. It’s
unclear how the ability to protect code translates into more secure
transactions on a decentralized network. But it likely can’t hurt.
way, what is clear is that by combining software and hardware solutions — not
to mention the considerable marketing power and mindshare within enterprise IT
communities — SAP and Intel are hoping to give each other a leg up as they
compete with other enterprise-focused blockchain vendors, like IBM and
worth noting that, so far, Intel and SAP haven’t actually done much together
involving the blockchain beyond proof-of-concept projects like SAP Global Track and Trace, which SAP created in
partnership with Intel and other companies. It remains to be seen whether this
new partnership will translate into real, enterprise-class blockchain
innovations. But both companies seem intent on making that happen, and we’ll be
following them to see how they move from proofs of concept to production-ready