HPE’s Blockchain Cloud Computing Play
the Global Blockchain Technology Corporation made headlines in early June when
they announced a partnership to deploy a
decentralized marketplace for cloud computing. The platform is designed to
allow enterprises to sell unused IT resources via a peer-to-peer network.
announcement offered few technical details about how the platform will work. We
do know that it will be based on the Laser Network, a blockchain that was forked from Ethereum earlier this year.
know, however, exactly which types of cloud-based resources will be made
available via Laser, how they will be distributed or how much they will cost.
HPE and Global Blockchain have mentioned sharing cloud-based storage resources
using the decentralized marketplace; it’s unclear whether other types of
resources might be available, too, such as computing capacity.
Other Blockchain-Based Cloud Networks
extent to which HPE and Global Blockchain branch out beyond cloud-based storage
sharing will be significant, because offering cloud-based storage over a
decentralized, blockchain-based network is not a new idea. A variety of other
vendors are already active in this market, such as Storj, MaidSafe and Filecoin.
startups are focusing primarily on the consumer market, rather than enterprises.
In that respect, the partnership between Global Blockchain and HPE is
significant, as the latter is apparently designed for enterprises.
said, attempting to break into the enterprise market could potentially create
steep new challenges for HPE and Global Blockchain. Convincing individuals who
have extra hard drive space on their personal computers to rent it out over a
peer-to-peer network, or to access such a network in order to gain more
personal storage space, is one thing. Designing a similar solution that
integrates with enterprise IT infrastructures and effectively addresses the
unique security and compliance risks that they face is another, more
Beyond Cloud Storage
HPE and Global Blockchain decide to extend their focus beyond blockchain-based
cloud storage, however, they would likely be in a much better position for a
successful market play. Selling computing capacity — in other words, access to
central processing units (CPUs) that can crunch numbers — via a
blockchain-based network would likely pose fewer security and compliance risks
because it would involve less data.
offering would also have a stronger market advantage because fewer existing
vendors are operating in this niche. Existing projects include Golem, which caters to software
developers in need of large-scale computing power when they write applications.
And in a sense, any blockchain that supports the execution of distributed
applications, like Ethereum, can provide access to shared computing resources,
although you’d need to build an application and interface for managing them in
a user-friendly way.
the market for decentralized, blockchain-based computing resources is currently
much less developed than that for decentralized storage. And it’s a market that
is a more obvious candidate for enterprises, whose need for highly scalable
computing infrastructure is significant.
tell what becomes of the partnership between Global Blockchain and HPE. For
now, they say that their goal is to develop a proof-of-concept platform, which
will be tested on existing users of HPE’s enterprise cloud computing platform.
(It’s unclear which users will test the new solution, and whether they will do
will be some time before it is clear whether the new platform will work as
intended and even longer before we know how innovative its decentralized
resource-sharing features are.