AWS Cloud Unveils Blockchain Templates
Blockchain is a complicated, hard-to-define technology with a lot of potential use cases, which are now easier to experiment with on the Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS) cloud.
AWS last week unveiled Blockchain Templates, providing a cloud onramp to the emerging technology used for projects ranging from managing Bitcoin cryptocurrency to securely recording events, medical records, identity management and more.
Blockchain is being touted by many as an incorruptible digital ledger of assets with the potential to transform wide-ranging areas of computing and everyday lives, but is apparently still understood by few.
Whatever it is, templates for blockchain technology are now available to users of the AWS cloud, even thouh AWS spokesperson Jeff Barr had a hard time explaining the technology himself, referencing an old Saturday Night Live skit about a product that can be used as a floor wax or dessert topping.
"Some of the people that I talk to see blockchains as the foundation of a new monetary system and a way to facilitate international payments," Barr said in a post last week. "Others see blockchains as a distributed ledger and immutable data source that can be applied to logistics, supply chain, land registration, crowdfunding, and other use cases. Either way, it is clear that there are a lot of intriguing possibilities and we are working to help our customers use this technology more effectively."
The company is doing that by providing options to easily and quickly launch a public or private Ethereum network or private Hyperledger Fabric network.
"Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third-party interference," its site says.
"Hyperledger Fabric is a blockchain framework implementation and one of the Hyperledger projects hosted by The Linux Foundation," its site says. "Intended as a foundation for developing applications or solutions with a modular architecture, Hyperledger Fabric allows components, such as consensus and membership services, to be plug-and-play."
Ethereum Network templates are available in three U.S. regions, providing two launch options.
"The ecs option creates an Amazon ECS cluster within a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) and launches a set of Docker images in the cluster. The docker-local option also runs within a VPC, and launches the Docker images on EC2 instances. The template supports Ethereum mining, the EthStats and EthExplorer status pages, and a set of nodes that implement and respond to the Ethereum RPC protocol. Both options create and make use of a DynamoDB table for service discovery, along with Application Load Balancers for the status pages," said Barr, who goes on to detail setting up a network.
Whatever blockchain networks are used for, Barr said the company plans to add new versions of the frameworks as they become available.
Several sites are available to attempt to explain blockchains, including BlockGeeks.com, Blockchain.com and the Wikipedia Blockchain site.
David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.