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Blockchain on IBM Cloud Private – Should I care?

By Sam Cohen

IBM recently announced Blockchain using IBM Cloud Private on LinuxOne (and IBM Z). Before you yawn too loudly, let’s ask if this should mean anything to you and your business.

First, let’s address IBM Cloud Private, which is a tool for managing your cloud infrastructure whether it is located on-premises, off-premises (like Amazon Web Services or IBM Cloud) or a combination. The concept of “cloud” is independent of the hardware, so long as it runs the environment you want.

What’s so great about IBM Cloud Private on LinuxOne? If you have the following legal, regulatory, policy or budgetary requirements to have a private or hybrid cloud environment, you should be considering LinuxOne over other Linux platforms:

  1. Workload Isolation
    • LinuxOne is the only hardware platform that provides virtualization with the same level of isolation as having multiple physical boxes
  2. Integrated Cryptographic Hardware
    • In-core hardware accelerated encryption that is 2x-7x faster than x86 hardware
    • True Random Number Generation
    • Hardware Security Model meeting FIPS 140-2 level 4 requirements
  3. Key Encryption and Management
    • Real-time centralized secure management of keys and certificates
  4. Policy-based data encryption in flight and at rest
  5. End-to-End network encryption
  6. Time Source security

IBM Cloud Private on LinuxOne is implemented in a Secured Service Container, meaning that the hypervisor and cloud management software is protected from intrusion, and administrators can only modify a limited set of data (like network information) and spend their time managing the cloud environment, not the hypervisor.

Next, let’s talk about blockchain.

Blockchain is an implementation of a distributed transaction ledger. You and your business partners each have a copy of the same transaction ledger. A change to the ledger (a new transaction or a change to an existing transaction) is communicated to everyone, all the partners tell each other when their local copy of the ledger has been updated, and all the partners then have matching transaction ledgers.

You still may be thinking, “What does this mean to me?” Let’s consider a possible real-world implementation:

You check your luggage for an overseas trip where you will be changing flights multiple times. At initial check-in, your baggage tag is created with a blockchain-enabled RFID label and chip. This is read when the bag is accepted by the airline and read during each baggage sort, flight load-in, and unload. With each sensor activity, the bag tag itself records where and when it has been read, which is synchronized with the data collected by the baggage tracking system.

If a bag fails to make a flight, the baggage crew does not need to access the baggage tracking system, because they can query the bag directly where it should be going. Meanwhile, the baggage tracking system can be notifying the passenger about the baggage delay, managing expectations appropriately.

So, blockchain-enabled applications can be isolated from each other by running in individual virtual platforms managed by IBM Cloud Private. If this sounds interesting to you, fill out the form below.

About the author

Sam Cohen is a System Z Consultant for LRS IT Solutions. Deep mainframe experience and a sharp focus on customer needs have marked Sam’s 40+ years in information tech­nology. Sam has worked with mainframe clients across the US, implementing customer solutions based on z/OS, VSE, z/VM, and Linux. Because the mainframe is always part of a total solution, Sam also has deep networking experience along with knowledge of Enterprise storage solutions.