Amazon Web Services (AWS) has entered the blockchain technology market by introducing AWS Blockchain template. AWS Blockchain Templates puts together all the required resources to support distributed ledger or cryptocurrency web applications. These templates are the first step in AWS’s entry into the blockchain market, with the goal of creating applications in an easier and rapid manner.
And a few months ago, CEO Andy Jassy explained his concern about the actual application of the blockchain. These Cloud Formation based templates are currently available in the US and can be used with the Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric networks. Both networks can be used to build private clouds through the Amazon VPC (Amazon Virtual Private Cloud). Ethereum can also be used for creating public cloud options.
First Adventures on the Blockchain
For AWS, the blockchain is not completely unfamiliar. At last year’s re:Invent Annual User Conference of AWS, they introduced a Blockchain Partner Program, which includes representatives from giant companies like PwC, PokitDok and T-Mobile to discuss how they build blockchain applications based on AWS.
Many industry peers expected AWS to release regional blockchain services at this conference. Where Jassy talked about this topic in his keynote speech, he said his company is much more interested in the blockchain, but they do not see many use cases other than distributed ledgers. He said:
“We don’t build technology because technology is cool. We only build technology when technology solves a specific customer problem.”
AWS says that they build products based feedback given by customers, so this anomaly might have resulted in response to the market demand. These blockchain templates follow the common practice of AWS to introduce minimally viable products and extend its functionality gradually.
Reaction from Industry and Business
Forrester Research analyst Martha Bennett said:
“I can fully understand the demanding situation from AWS customers, ‘Why are you not trying these new technologies as easily on Microsoft Azure and IBM Cloud?’ Both Microsoft and IBM have provided blockchain products for many years. The AWS provided templates are not even in the same category as they are. They are similar to the functionality provided by the Azure in 2016. If AWS compete with companies such as IBM and Microsoft, it needs to increase its features, such as enterprise features for improved access and confidentiality. ”
Job.com site co-owner who Arran Stewart said that if the AWS just started its blockchain templates to attract blockchain start-up companies, then they do not need to do so much with it now. Job.com is using blockchain as part of their recruitment platform. He pointed out:
“Oracle and IBM have customised solutions that allow their customers to build blockchain applications in an easy way as building websites.”
Proprietary software is not really a use-case for this new AWS service, but for smaller companies that want to build things in a simple manner, these AWS blockchain templates are sufficient, such as deploying distributed ledgers to shield their website transactions and maintain the accuracy of the transaction. However, Stewart still hopes that AWS can add more customized Blockchain templates in the future.
Cloud Computing and Blockchain: A Combination of Heaven and Earth
The cloud computing platform is considered to be a good fit for the blockchain, which is mainly due to its distributed functionality and potential to simplify the construction of application processes. In addition to Microsoft and IBM, Oracle also provides blockchain services on its cloud computing platform, and it is anticipated that Google is also planning to add blockchain services to its cloud computing platform in near future. Bennett said that there are significant technical differences in blockchain technologies available in the market, but what they have in common is that they have to manage distributed nodes and keep track of them in sync. Very large providers are good at doing this because they manage a distributed system with scales beyond any current blockchain platforms.
Based on the internal expertise that AWS has, they may not need a long time to succeed with the blockchain wave sweeping across the tech sector. But in the end, AWS will need to decide whether to stick to the basics of blockchain to help its customers run these workloads. Bennett said:
“When we using blockchain networks to achieve critical business processes, 80% of this process is about business and 20% about technology. Its better to have a consulting partner to really help you in solving business problems.”
AWS’s consulting services are constantly increasing, but it has not yet reached the range of companies such as IBM. Despite this, AWS’s blockchain framework is not too late. At present, there are not many blockchain apps in the production environment, and AWS’s commanding position in the cloud computing market will be to their advantage in this newly emerging blockchain market.
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