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IBM Blockchain Platform is the IBM commercial deployment of The Linux Foundation’s open source Hyperledger Fabric. This means our clients get the support, tools and services they need to successfully develop, deploy, operate and govern production grade blockchain solutions even in the most regulated industries.
IBM has been involved in enterprise blockchain since its inception. Our engineers built the core codebase of Hyperledger Fabric, which was then contributed to the Hyperledger greenhouse under the purview of The Linux Foundation in 2016. Since then, IBM has remained an active contributor and core maintainer of the open source, open governance project as it became the de facto distributed ledger technology (DLT) framework in the enterprise blockchain space.
For many reasons, Hyperledger Fabric has proven itself to be the best-in-class enterprise DLT. When experimenters get serious and want to build networks to support mission-critical initiatives, a purely open source environment is not sufficient in most cases. That’s where IBM Blockchain Platform comes in.
Here are seven ways the enterprise-grade IBM Blockchain Platform provides valuable capabilities and benefits beyond open source:
1. Sustains confidence with expert development support
Building a blockchain network and onboarding participants can be a time consuming, manual process. This is why IBM has dedicated Fabric development and support teams, many of whom are also core maintainers of Fabric and top contributors in the community. To ensure security, IBM provides certified images, based on the open source code, that are run through multiple vulnerability scans on a weekly basis — these are part of our core product and tooling, but can also be deployed standalone. These IBM certified images include faster bug fixes, 24x7x365 support adhering to IBM SLAs, and are frequently updated to be in line with the latest open source community versions.
2. Provides open options with design that prevents vendor lock-in
Enterprise clients want the ability to build in their environment of choice, whether that be on premises, in a hybrid environment, or in a single public cloud. In multi-party networks, each company also benefits from a single tool to govern their consortium without the hassle of worrying where other consortium members deploy their components. That is why we have built IBM Blockchain Platform to prevent vendor lock-in across all cloud environments, as well as the capability to deploy on any Kubernetes environment 1.15 or higher. This allows a consortium to be governed openly, through a single platform, across multiple environments.
In addition, IBM Blockchain Platform produces fully compatible Hyperledger Fabric artifacts. This allows users to easily migrate their solutions and move to another commercial blockchain platform if they are not satisfied.
3. Builds a flexible network that includes open source nodes
Scaling requires flexibility. In addition to allowing you to connect to nodes running in any environment, we recognize that platforms need to be able to support both community and open source nodes in conjunction with nodes deployed through blockchain platforms. With this in mind, we have ensured that IBM Blockchain Platform can work with open source nodes to enhance flexibility and collaboration.
4. Accelerates productivity and ROI
IBM Blockchain Platform eliminates complexity to accelerate your development time. Our tools can help you throughout the lifecycle of developing, deploying and growing your blockchain solution. These tools include the IBM Blockchain Platform VS Code Extension, which assists with developing, packaging, testing, and debugging smart contracts, and the IBM Blockchain Platform Console, which makes it easy to manage network governance and operations.
More recently, we also made Ansible collections available to automate network configurations and organization onboarding. These tools can reduce operation time for critical actions like adding members or changing policies by up to 90 percent, thus shortening your time to value.
5. Ensures enterprise resiliency and security
Although Hyperledger Fabric leads across DLT frameworks, enterprises that wish to successfully run production-grade networks still need a commercial distribution of the open source, especially if they are planning to run mission-critical solutions in production. IBM Blockchain Platform is built with enterprise requirements in mind. Our operational console addresses the complex channel management operations that provide critical aspects of privacy in enterprise networks. It also builds in the ability for you to define the level of security and resiliency of your nodes through robust High Availability and Disaster Recovery — all managed through the intuitive IBM Blockchain Platform tooling.
Seamless integration with hardware security modules (HSM) provides the option to store and manage private keys on a physical appliance. Additionally, we are continuously evaluating our compliance certifications, working vigilantly to ensure clients are always compliant with the most pertinent regulations. To date we are already ISO27001 certified and in the process of securing SOC2 Type 2 compliance.
6. Ability to govern and collaborate effectively
Governance is a fundamental part of any multi-party blockchain network. This is a core design principle of our platform, which focuses on making it easier to manage the members and nodes of a Fabric network. Our platform provides tooling to manage permissions and accessibility, makes it easier to distribute nodes across environments and onboard new members. We have implemented the new smart contract lifecycle introduced in Hyperledger Fabric 2.0 which provides simplified smart contract collaboration. Furthermore, we allow you to easily configure your consensus and Raft node ownership.
7. Expert help from the best in the business
Lastly, IBM provides SME Support through Lab Services — these are experts who help across all aspects of a customer’s blockchain journey, from architecting, configuring and deploying networks to performing health checks and performance assessments. Our IBM Blockchain team has the most seasoned Hyperledger Fabric experts and the unparalleled experience that comes from having built the enterprise blockchain space from its inception and worked with hundreds of clients.
IBM remains committed to supporting the Hyperledger Fabric ecosystem — the ecosystem used by more than half of the organizations and companies in the Forbes Blockchain 50. The IBM Blockchain Platform capitalizes on Hyperledger Fabric’s strengths while also providing the tools and support organizations need to deploy their blockchain networks more rapidly and securely.
Our October release of IBM Blockchain Platform brings tooling to manage the decentralized governance of smart contracts, chaincode lifecycle management, improvements in performance and support for Hyperledger Fabric 2.2.
If you would like to learn more, you can test the free trial version of IBM Blockchain Platform for multi-could deployments. You can also speak to one of our experts and schedule a consultation with us at any time.
To learn more about our perspectives on the market and product roadmap, register now for our upcoming webinar.