Blockchain is Complicated, can’t I just use a database?

December 24, 2019
Evangelos Pappas

Evangelos Pappas

CEO of Ocyan

Hey, it’s Evan from Ocyan, and this is a continuation of an article-series for the whole essence of the Practical Blockchain, and the use-cases in the enterprise across multiple industries.

During the digital transformation journey, a multi-party communication is often required; either between different organisations or departments or even an open and transparent access to a broader audience. These archetypes can be found across different industries, such as trading, logistics, banking & insurance and Telecoms.

As a common denominator your solution requires traits such as secure & encrypted channels and data-storage, trusted authentication, strict authorization, the participation of different partners & peers, geo-distributed connectivity, transparent audit, immutability, and other ledger-based features.

Product Timeline Blockchain

Such applications seem awfully similar to how you would have executed your project without the use of Blockchain, simply by modelling your solution with a Database (and probably a relational DB) and a series of ETL pipelines layered on top of your DB. So, is there any reason to have a second thought?

Indeed the archetype of blockchain is not clearly defined. Thus, one of the main criticism of Blockchain technologies, is about its purpose in comparison to existing Databases. Spoiler alert: you need both, and let’s see why.

You are creating a Network, deal with it

Although the focus of the solution modelling is in the form of entities and relations, thinking in Database terms comes naturally. Yet, what you are creating is a network.

As it is often the case, when you are modelling departments, partners, users, clients and transactions what you are actually doing is re-inventing the wheel to implement the authentication, authorisation, auditability, distribution & sharding and data consistency.

Understanding this parallelism, enables you to easily model your solution with a network archetype; including Directory Access registries, Certificate Authorities, distributed logs (ledgers) and micro services to expose your data.

Hyperledger Network

As a key example, Hyperledger Fabric is a DLT platform that exposes these components out of the box. Using a blockchain as the network layer in your provide as a ready to serve all components that you’d have to implement.

Putting all together

As a conclusion, choosing to include a Blockchain technology in your stack, it’s not a decision to replace your DBMS. Blockchains are simply the evolution your the network layer that adds trust, security, validation and auditability.

Hello from Ocyan

Ocyan has been actively engaged with use cases from Tier-1 to Tier-4 organisations within the FinTech, Logistics, Energy, O&G and Telecom industries who have been trying to scale, deploy and manage blockchain applications within their enterprise environment. Our On-premise “Cloud Operating System” provides features such as the formation and management of trusted and secure blockchain consortia, back-office and legacy integrations with blockchain and P2P networks, and serverless data pipeline for any blockchain network. To stay tuned for more updates follow us on Тwitter or LinkedIn.

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