Blockchain has many advantages: decentralized storage, strong security and sharable and traceable yet unmodifiable data. For these and many other reasons, blockchain is growing in popularity across industries like healthcare, supply chain, and even entertainment. Darian Wilkin, senior solutions engineer at DigitalOcean, says, “There are currently many blockchain businesses building secure and decentralized products and services on public clouds.
He shares his insights about blockchain and cloud and how developers can build and manage these projects effectively.
What are some common use cases for blockchain cloud solutions?
Wilkin: Cloud technology is currently being used to build everything from blockchain APIs for business applications to supporting popular Proof of Stake networks such as Elrond. In its current form, blockchain technology is most useful for ensuring consensus and resilience in a transaction system, which makes it useful for businesses that want to reduce costs, increase transparency, and increase speed in their transactions with other businesses. This is why the majority of use cases of blockchain and the cloud outside of finance and cryptocurrency lie in supply chain, logistics, healthcare, and other regulatory and compliance-heavy industries.
Cloud-based blockchain technologies can help secure the exchange of medical data or provide traceability to the global supply chain of goods.
Do you anticipate more blockchains in the cloud in the future?
Wilkin: In the future, some blockchain experts have suggested that we’ll start to see blockchain-based decentralized cloud solutions, where data will exist on multiple compute nodes. These blockchain-based clouds would be particularly suited for industries such as logistics or financial services, where ongoing monitoring and record-keeping are essential.
How can developers control cloud hosting and storage costs?
Wilkin: Since blockchains are essentially built on thousands of nodes, with new ones constantly added, they require a huge amount of scalable compute power. But buying and managing on-prem servers that can support this scale of growth can be time-consuming, costly, and inefficient, especially for individual developers and small businesses. This is why developers are turning to cloud computing for their blockchain solutions.
For most developers, cost and storage will be determining factors when selecting a cloud provider. Therefore, the first step to controlling compute and storage costs should be finding providers with simple and predictable pricing and solutions that will enable the infrastructure to scale alongside the business. Complex billing obfuscates inefficiencies in your infrastructure and increases your administrative overhead.
Additionally, developers and business owners should ensure they are not over-provisioned, look for options that allow autoscaling and scheduling, and be on the lookout for unused resources like load balancers, snapshots, and storage volumes.
How can these projects scale efficiently?
Wilkin: Developers working on blockchain projects want to ensure they’re choosing cloud providers with flexible provisioning capabilities in order to scale more efficiently. Since blockchains already require a significant amount of compute power to operate, the more efficiently developers can set up their infrastructure with tools such as autoscaling, the more control they’ll have over their overall operating costs. As blockchains are distributed, developers will also want to think about how cloud providers support different regions and data centers that may be most applicable to their needs.
What should developers look for in a cloud provider?
Wilkin: The best cloud provider for blockchain solutions will be the one that’s simplest to use for developers and businesses. As developers and entrepreneurs discover new use cases and industry applications for blockchain, the less time they spend managing their infrastructure will be more time spent building their innovative applications. The ideal cloud solution will be able to scale up or down as needed, providing ease and speed to projects as the blockchain industry grows and as the technology becomes more advanced.
Cloud is just a canvas; the applications it runs give it life and meaning. Choosing a cloud that’s easy to understand and use will decrease your ramp time and increase your focus on what matters: what you’re building.