As organizations aggressively embrace digital business transformation, blockchain platforms will be a key technology to modernize processes.
VMware this week announced the initial availability of its blockchain platform as part of an ongoing effort to streamline the number of processes and platforms required to reliably process transactions.
Based on an open-source Scalable Byzantine Fault Tolerance (SBFT) consensus engine, VMware Blockchain gives IT organizations access to an immutable platform that processes use the same core distributed ledger technology employed by providers of digital currencies such as Bitcoin. The core Byzantine engine keeps track of the order of transactions as they are made via a consensus engine built on top of a fault-tolerant state machine replication capability developed by VMware.
VMware also provides access to the state of the blockchain via an authenticated key/value data structure that only allows data to be accessed only by authorized parties.
The goal is to enable organizations to create workflows across decentralized systems where each party on the network has access to a single source of truth about transactions in near real-time. VMware is making it simpler to achieve that goal by providing support for multiple smart contract languages that enable organizations to build processes and workflows spanning a decentralized network. VMware Blockchain also provides access to a standard Ledger application programming interface (API) to build applications using the Digital Asset Modeling Language (DAML), a framework for building smart contract applications.
Finally, VMware Blockchain is also deeply integrated with the VMware stack of infrastructure software to simplify the deployment of a mission-critical application on fault-tolerant platforms, says Tanya Shastri, vice president of blockchain products for VMware.
Early adopters of VMware Blockchain include the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) and Broadridge Financial Solutions. Much of the usage of blockchain technologies in the financial services sector is being driven by organizations looking for a way to process trillions of dollars of transactions occurring between multiple parties more efficiently, notes Shastri.
It’s not quite clear to what degree blockchain platforms might one day shrink the current stack of software and infrastructure that is currently required to process these transactions. However, as organizations in the wake of the economic downturn embrace digital business transformation more aggressively it’s clear blockchain platforms will be part of the mix of technologies employed to modernize processes. As part of that effort, many of those same organizations are also looking to reduce the total cost of IT by replacing many of the legacy applications they currently rely on to, for example, process transactions. “A lot of those inefficiencies can melt away,” says Shastri.
Of course, achieving that goal requires an appetite for experimentation that might not be as robust as it was prior to the pandemic. For every organization that has accelerated digital business transformation initiatives, there are plenty of examples of organizations that have decided to simply hunker down in the hopes of weathering the current financial storm. The issue those organizations will ultimately need to confront one day is to what degree have they fallen behind from an IT capability that they can no longer catch up.
In the meantime, lots of IT professionals working in vertical industries outside of the financial services sector will be anxious to see just how robust blockchain platforms prove themselves to be in actual production environments.