Blockchain as a Service | Everything You Wanted to Know

Blockchain as a Service | Everything You Wanted to Know

Posted by : Mudit Kumar | 13-Aug-2020

  • Blockchain-as-a-Service

    Blockchain-as-a-Service providers such as IBM, Microsoft Azure, and other established corporations provide BaaS to render the blockchain app development easier for enterprises. It enables organizations to concentrate more on their core areas, without thinking about the development aspects and complexities.

    What is Blockchain as a Service

    Essentially, Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) enables individuals and organizations to build, host, and operate their blockchain applications, functions, and smart contracts using cloud-based services.

    Baas follows the Software As A Service (SaaS) models and functions similarly. Blockchain-as-a-service ( BaaS) refers to agile and functional cloud-based blockchain infrastructure and management by third-party entities enabling companies to develop and run blockchain applications. 

    BaaS acts like a kind of web host, operating the back-end processes for an application or network based on a blockchain. 

    Soon, we may see BaaS functioning as the catalyst that contributes to the widespread adoption of blockchain technology.

    How Does it Work 

    The creation, configuration, and operation of a blockchain and the maintenance of its infrastructure involve technical and operational complexities and often act as a hindrance.

    A BaaS platform configures and manages the infrastructure and technology of blockchain for clients to develop and operate applications. A BaaS provider charges a client a fee for configuring and maintaining blockchain nodes on their behalf. Essentially, the BaaS provider handles the back-end and business for a client. It is the responsibility of the BaaS provider to keep the blockchain network operational. It is also responsible for activities like proper resource allocation, bandwidth management, and hosting requirements.

    The use of a BaaS model enables customers to focus on key areas of their business and blockchain platform’s functionality. They do not need to worry about performance and infrastructure challenges.

    You can think of BaaS as a web hosting company. It is equivalent to launching your website on a web hosting provider like Amazon Web Services or Azure and trusting them to manage maintenance and network problems. Thus, it relieves an enterprise from the pressure of running a blockchain app’s infrastructure.

    Also, read | A Comprehensive Guide to Blockchain Application Development

    Why Should a Business Opt for Blockchain as a Service

    The competitive benefits of implementing Blockchain technology are gradually being pursued by IT organizations across many industries. But, the underlying technological challenges, shortage of market experience, and organizational overheads involved in the production and implementation of the Blockchain make key decision-makers to slow down adoption plans.

    Now, they see BaaS as a potentially viable solution to this issue.

    Selecting an appropriate provider of Blockchain as a service can provide businesses qualified blockchain developers, process, and management experts, as well as the entire production and delivery blockchain infrastructure, without worrying about development and overhead costs.

    Also, in most cases, a reputed BaaS partner is a valuable source of technical knowledge and experience that can make the systems safer. It reduces the number of concerns that would have to be handled if it were built internally.

    What’s Better: Self-Hosted or On Cloud 

    There is a valid debate to still have about whether it’s better to outsource or keep the blockchain in-house. What’s assured is that investment in blockchain cloud services is still by far an affordable choice. If you decide to go with a self-hosted blockchain, expect significant expenses from expensive infrastructure and a huge lineup of highly qualified software developers in particular. 

    Neither of the two issues occurs in the equation of blockchain and cloud. A customer is usually only liable to pay for the units of service that are used for BaaS services. A few BaaS firms offer their services for as little as $0.29 per CPU hour.

    What kind of things can Blockchain as a Service be used for

    A few real-world applications that businesses test and host on BaaS platforms:

    Documentation Traceability

    Blockchain offers a network capable of enabling transparent, distributed monitoring and traceability of records

    Record Keeping

    Businesses requiring secure data storage can take advantage of blockchain-powered data storage systems. Strictly regulated businesses profit from the blockchain’s stable, immutable features of storing data.

    Also, read | Augmenting the Management of EHRs (Electronic Health Records) with Blockchain

    Execution of Business Contracts 

    With blockchain, smart contracts blockchain automates the execution of a business contract featuring a high level of transparency and efficiency. They enable an immediate conclusion and payment. 

    How to Choose the Right BaaS Partner 

    The following factors have proven beneficial as ways to pick blockchain as a service partner. To achieve better outcomes, the centrality of selecting a BaaS provider needs to be around them:

    Smart Contract Capabilities

    An efficient Blockchain as a service system must have enough flexibility to adapt to new technological inventions and development. Taking into account unpredictable, exponential growth, BaaS providers should have the buffer to implement something suitable to traditional Blockchain environments. Besides, the incorporation of smart contracts is what renders blockchain so special and revolutionary. It is so because of their ability to immediately implement and execute the terms and conditions of a contract between two parties without intermediaries. Being automated and non-terminable solidifies their use. It makes it necessary for BaaS companies to include them in their offering.

    Identity Management System

    Managing identities is a key aspect that IT security managers must fulfill. Thus, the industry promotes best practices for the implementation of Identity Access Management (IAM) systems. IAM systems enable users to define and control digital identities. Blockchain Technology has a strong case to keep for safety in and of itself. Therefore, BaaS systems have to implement secure and efficient IAMs to provide user consumption-fit information according to access rights. Should a company’s employee be privy to confidential business information? Not. An IAM network prevents such situations, and it must be one of the USPs of a provider of Blockchain as a service.

    Consensus Mechanism

    BaaS networks must be flexible enough to meet the challenging rise in node numbers as and when the company grows. But, how will such a scalability problem be overcome when a Proof of Stake or a Proof of Work protocol runs through the blockchain? Such consensus mechanisms require heavy computing power. Also, irrespective of the vendors’ background, the number of nodes in their network will be finite at any time. As a result, shortlisting BaaS platforms that run on identity-based consensus mechanisms is recommended.

    Adaptability

    It can be an issue if you want to move to another Blockchain platform when developing a BaaS architecture-based blockchain application? You may not find many blockchain-as-a-service providers that offer flexibility when it comes to blockchain frameworks. Some BaaS providers support only one form of Blockchain enterprise deployment. Thus, it is necessary to ensure a BaaS is chosen that supports several runtimes and frameworks. It will facilitate flexibility to your business needs.

    Which are the Popular Providers

    Amazon

    Amazon launched its blockchain-as-a-service product on AWS in 2018. It facilitates companies to develop scalable blockchain solutions.” Businesses can develop and deploy blockchain solutions on either Ethereum or Hyperledger Fabric. They can also access other cloud computing services offered by Amazon AWS.

    Microsoft

    Microsoft Blockchain on Azure, released in 2016, is a blockchain technology development framework based on the Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform. Businesses can create, test, and operate secure blockchain applications on this famous BaaS platform.

    SAP

    Launched in 2017, SAP’s SAP Leonardo is a cloud-based blockchain service platform. It enables businesses to transform digitally on a scale by leveraging distributed ledger technology. The platform offers blockchain-powered plug-and-play solutions and enables the simple setup and hosting of blockchain nodes within a few clicks.

    IBM

    The IBM Blockchain Platform was launched in 2017 and is one of the powerhouses in the BaaS space. It is a completely functional distributed ledger technology framework that facilitates companies to quickly and cost-effectively create, rule, and operate a blockchain ecosystem on a scalable, cloud-based platform.

    Pricing Depending on the Model

    For as little as USD 0.29/ per allocated CPU/ hour, you can avail Blockchain as a Service. We refer to such a pricing model as a pay-as-you-go scheme. The overall costs may vary as per external variables like transaction costs, the number of channels, transactions’ payload size, and the overall number of active transactions, and more, in this model. 

    Amazon’s AWS managed Blockchain as a service pricing depends on variables like network membership, data transfer, peer nodes, peer node storage, and more. The cost of these variables is included in the hourly network membership fee, billed per second. It can start from an overall production network rate of $1.93 per hour and a network member. Microsoft provides its Azure Blockchain Service as a tiered pricing model.

    Working with a blockchain development company like Oodles for IBM, AWS or Azure Blockchain application development requires taking extra costs for consulting, development, and other support services into account. 

    Conclusion 

    Blockchain as a Service is a compelling opportunity that can expedite its widespread adoption across industries. It can help a company make the business ready for the future without making considerable investments in analysis, planning, infrastructure, and resources. 

    Oodles is a blockchain development company that can assist you to solve the complexities of developing and deploying with BaaS. Connect with our seasoned blockchain developers for more information.


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About Author

Mudit Kumar (Writer)

Mudit has been working with Oodles since 2017. He writes about technologies that not only disrupt the digital space but also influence the physical world. Initially, he explored revolutionary technologies like ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and AI (Artificial Intelligence). Now, he focuses on unfolding the elements of blockchain technology, given its potential and edge over others.

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