GlobalData Cites Phase Two of Blockchain: Interoperability of Disparate Systems

C. Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • The industry is moving beyond the education and PoC stage into a second phase of proving blockchain apps in production via interoperability.
  • Operators are releasing blockchain solutions leveraging partnerships with platforms providers, including IBM and Microsoft.

Those in blockchain circles are throwing around the term ‘hype’ much less amid more practical discussions of late on how technology providers and systems integrators are actively building points of interoperability between disparate blockchain implementations and cloud platforms. The industry is moving beyond the education and proof-of-concept (PoC) stage and into a phase which aims to demonstrate how blockchain performs in production. This requires concrete steps towards interoperability among partners and various blockchain implementations. Interoperability with the promise of avoiding vendor lock-in is a key theme this quarter among leading providers and integrators such as IBM, Accenture, and AT&T.

GlobalData’s Blockchain Watch quarterly newsletter provides analysis on several key events from recent days and weeks illustrating this topic (please see “Ecosystem Partnerships and Promised Interoperability Dictate Latest Blockchain Messaging,” November, 16, 2018). Highlights include:

  • AT&T’s endorsement of blockchain technology through integration deals with Microsoft and IBM provides the operator with a new set of digital transformation tools for its manufacturing, healthcare, and retail customers. Tapping AT&T’s new suite of blockchain solutions, which are coupled with its edge-to-edge capabilities (e.g., IoT solutions), enterprise customers can automate and digitize key business processes, including access to resources to track and manage information across multiple parties.
  • IBM is offering its blockchain platform on non-IBM clouds, via an AWS QuickStart offering, steering customers towards IBM Cloud and IBM Cloud Private for enterprise-grade security and management capabilities. The announcement of IBM Blockchain Platform ‘anywhere’ extends the cloud infrastructure deployment options for its blockchain platform of integration and development tools. The service, available in the AWS public cloud environment, allows customers to build a native blockchain peer solution which connects to partner blockchain networks. IBM is attempting to demonstrate its blockchain platform’s ability to be infrastructure agnostic to support enterprises’ need for multi-cloud deployments and avoid vendor lock-in, while optimizing the technology for its own cloud’s comprehensive services including security, management, scalability, etc.
  • Technology providers and systems integrators are actively building points of interoperability between disparate blockchain implementations and cloud platforms. IT services vendor Accenture announced that it has created and successfully tested a new technology that would allow two or more disparate distributed ledger platforms to interoperate. In announcing what is essentially an interoperability node that sits between disparate systems such as Ethereum, Bitcoin, and Hyperledger, Accenture is promising customers a chance to share transactions and information between two or more platforms, not unlike a solution SAP announced earlier this month in the form of a new network extensibility service designed to link disparate blockchain cloud platforms.

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