Many interesting technologies have emerged over the past ten years that are starting to improve both business processes and the interaction of ordinary people within society. Two of the technologies widely used in recent years are virtualization and Bitcoin. Virtualization has paved the way for cloud computing, while the Bitcoin protocol can reinvent the finance industry by using blockchain.
Surprisingly, no one has thought of combining these two technologies together. If someone did this, then that someone would solve the most difficult problem for corporate IT directors, namely the issue of maintaining control over processes and customer data by trusting an outside vendor.
Cost and Confidentiality
The key problems of cloud computing, which blockchain technology seeks to solve, are the high cost of services and data security. These problems are associated with centralization, as the entire industry is controlled by such giant corporations as Microsoft, Amazon and IBM. They own the data and dispose of it for their own purposes by sacrificing our right to privacy. But now with blockchain technology, cloud computing can be decentralized. In addition to reducing costs, decentralization also ensures system efficiency, thus eliminating the risk of data leakage.
If one were to ask IT directors what they need to migrate their critical processes to cloud platforms, concepts like accountability, reliability, regulatory compliance, security, verifiability, vendor responsibility, and so on would be the answers. In other words, they require a reliable supply chain so that every step in it can be tested in real time. If something goes wrong, one can find out what it is, how to fix it and whom to hold accountable.
Today, no cloud service provider can offer this information without a long and painstaking analysis of the entire process.
This is a problem for the entire industry, which means that there is an opportunity for its innovative solution and a new business model of a future startup. Such a solution can be easily imagined. Everything that happens to the data, be it transporting, processing or storing data, is transferred to the blockchain. Subsequently, all information about the operations with the computing process remains available to the customers. What happened to the data, who got access to it, where it was sent and how this data was managed. Anyone who has access to this blockchain can check the process. Essentially, the blockchain freezes the computing platform during data processing so that its users can monitor the state of the computing process in real time.
The Problem With Blockchain Scaling
The following question may arise as to whether it is possible to build such a system in reality? Even a modest petabyte cloud in any case implies billions of data transactions every second that need to be entered into the blockchain and distributed across decentralized nodes. Estimated network, storage, and computing requirements will make scaling impossible. And this is the cornerstone of existing decentralized platforms.
Modern technologies have already changed the data protection model, thus creating a new paradigm of their security, in which data is not only copied or backed up, but also protected from cyber attacks in the cloud using a verification system, which is based on a chain of blocks.
Last year, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin told AngelList that his platform may never replace centralized cloud computing due to the scalability issues it is facing. However, his plans are to surpass Visa in speed and volume of transactions in the next few years.
According to Vitalik Buterin, the blockchain is still far from taking a place among traditional cloud computing technologies when it comes to providing computing power to run applications with large amounts of data. But this does not mean that the blockchain plays no role in improving existing cloud infrastructure. The decentralized cloud computing market is starting to gain momentum, and there are already pioneers in this industry.
Blockchain-Heroes of Cloud Computing in 2018
One of the companies that decided to work on decentralization of cloud computing is Conduit, a platform founded by engineers from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). The project seeks to collect unused computing power from various devices and share them with those who need it to run power-intensive computer applications.
Unlike traditional cloud-based solutions, blockchain-based solutions will rely on idle computing power from a pool of providers, which will include individual computer users. This means unlimited computing power at a lower cost, given that neither the suppliers nor the users are obliged to build an expensive infrastructure.
According to Ryan Robinson, lead manager of Conduit, the project can be very useful for providing the computing power needed for mining cryptocurrencies. The huge amount of energy needed for mining is one of the key obstacles to the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies and recognition of their validity.
A solution in this area would be invaluable for mass crypto adoption. With projects like Conduit, people can get cryptocurrencies from their personal computers without having to invest in large infrastructures.
Conduit is not the only solution that is trying to democratize the cloud computing space. Another project, which Leonardo Render is working on, is a solution that allows users to implement their complex virtual projects by using external GPUs instead of personal or cloud-based services. Rendering or image synthesis is the process through which computer graphics cards perform complex calculations to create 2D or 3D images.
Currently, individuals or companies are required to invest in their own rendering infrastructure or depend on cloud services. Both options are not only expensive, but also very slow, as the animators can wait up to one month for each second of video playback.
Leonardo Render software uses the power of blockchain to allow its users to directly connect to large companies engaged in the mining of graphics processors and use their computing power.
Studios and creative agencies often face rendering problems as the demand for video content grows. While existing vendors offer cloud rendering solutions, most of them use third-party hardware leased from server giants such as Amazon, Microsoft, and others. The Leonardo Render solution repeats the “cut out the middleman” blockchain mantra by directly linking business and creative professionals with process capacities. In this case, the end user pays less, and the supplier has a greater coverage of their customer base.
In addition to helping creators and artists, the Leonardo Render solution will allow miners (or renderers in this case) to get a stable source of income that can compete with Ethereum mining in terms of profitability (on average, the LEOS mining cost is $0.5 per hour, and ETH is $0.04 per hour ).
Another project, known as Gladius, is working on a solution that combines user bandwidth and shares it with those who need extra power to combat DDoS attacks. Although cloud computing can provide the extra power needed to survive after these attacks, it still has its limitations. On the other hand, decentralized solutions, such as Gladius, are cheaper and highly reliable, given their dependence on the pool of providers.
As blockchain technology continues to evolve, there is no doubt that more and more cloud computing solutions will appear. The speed with which the world moves towards decentralized institutions is increasing every day, so now is the right time to explore the possibilities. When it comes to cloud computing, solutions such as Conduit, Leonardo Render and Gladius are simply and confidently paving the way for new innovations that will appear in the blockchain space.
Now imagine if a blockchain system appeared not only for a single cloud, but for the entire cloud space and all data within. For each transaction, calculation and storage of information in all networks of the world. This would change our society, which based on trust into a society, that is based on truth, where the blockchain would allow to prove and find the truth.