Oracle Steps up its Game with Generation 2 Release for Enterprise Blockchain

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By Michela Menting | 3Q 2020 | IN-5914

In July 2020, Oracle announced a significant update to its Blockchain Platform. The update to the Oracle Blockchain Platform Cloud Service offers a range of new features and a better pricing model, which reflects the maturing demand for enterprise blockchain. With the release, Oracle aims to go beyond experimentation and testing and better cater to production-ready deployments. The focus on improving redundancy, access control, audit capabilities, storage, availability, and pricing reflects the need to ensure enterprise-grade requirements can be met across the Oracle Blockchain Platform (whether cloud-based or on-premises).

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Oracle Blockchain Platform Cloud Service Update: New Release Available

NEWS


In July 2020, Oracle announced a significant update to its Blockchain Platform. The update to the Oracle Blockchain Platform Cloud Service offers a range of new features and a better pricing model, which reflects the maturing demand for enterprise blockchain. With the release, Oracle aims to go beyond experimentation and testing and better cater to production-ready deployments. The focus on improving redundancy, access control, audit capabilities, storage, availability, and pricing reflects the need to ensure enterprise-grade requirements can be met across the Oracle Blockchain Platform (whether cloud-based or on-premises). 

Usability and Pricing Improvements to Entice Live Deployments

IMPACT


While the majority of blockchain trials never end in production, those that do can be highly successful, most notably in the niche markets related to cross-border payments and electronic Know Your Customer (e-KYC) digital identity in financial services, supply chain management, logistics and transportation, track and trace for food, conflict minerals and sensitive materials, and luxury goods. Specifically, Oracle’s focus on live production deployments is a sign of the maturing enterprise blockchain ecosystem in these markets.

On the one hand, Oracle is focusing on ensuring the latest Hyperledger Fabric advancements are included in its platform and integrated with key enterprise requirements around resilience, scalability, and security. This is where new resiliency features such as automatic distribution and replication of all platform components across multiple availability or fault domains in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) data centers has been introduced in the latest version of Oracle Blockchain Platform Cloud Service, alongside decentralized ordering and geo-redundant, multi-region ordering clusters. Better scalability is served by the dynamic scaling of nodes and storage through granular scale-up and scale-out as a self-service. From a security perspective, fine-grained on-chain access control mechanisms have been presented, with new chaincode Application Programming Interface (API) and library. Further, better audit control capabilities are introduced for control plane operations and through support for Oracle Database Blockchain Tables (via the rich history databased feature).  Oracle Blockchain Tables are part of the Oracle Database 20c product, bringing the tamper-resistant features of blockchain to the database.

Most importantly, the update to Oracle’s Blockchain Platform Cloud Service is accompanied by a new pricing model that can ease some of the high transaction costs that can be quickly racked-up during production. Instead, Oracle offers CPU-hour based pricing metrics and allocated storage resources. This is a much less volatile pricing method than the one based on transaction rates. Oracle also provides managed migration from the current version of the platform to the new generation, which preserves ledger data and configuration—an important factor for production customers. Finally, Oracle will also allow a Bring-Your-Own-License (BYOL) program to enable customers to use existing on-premises Blockchain Platform (Oracle Blockchain Platform Enterprise Edition) software licenses for Oracle Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) at a lower cost. This provides much more flexibility to customers on how to best use their licenses.

Overall, Oracle is keen to ensure that customers in trial and testing phases can make a smooth, flexible, and cost-efficient transition to production, in line with key enterprise requirements around security resilience and scalability.

Closing in on the Leadership

RECOMMENDATIONS


The new features will place the platform that much closer to the industry’s leaders in the Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) space, IBM, and Microsoft. IBM’s early involvement in Hyperledger, and its high rate of live production use cases, and Microsoft’s strength in cloud and developer tools make them significant contenders in the BaaS market. Still, their success is indicative of ripening enterprise applications, and there is plenty of room for competitors to move in. Oracle in particular has pressed on with its blockchain endeavors and the new version of the Oracle Blockchain Platform Cloud Service showcases its commitment to and expertise in enterprise blockchain. Oracle’s expertise in databased management systems and enterprise software (and notably in supply chain management) make it a significant rival force in blockchain development. Key to mastering the space should be the firm’s continued focus on ensuring it’s first applications, notably around its prebuilt business-ready Intelligent Track and Trace Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) application, are continuously fine-tuned to ensure maximum conversion from trial to production. 

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