News by Forbes: Darryn Pollock
The rush to join the enterprise blockchain era has taken off significantly in 2019. Fifty companies worth over a billion dollars are pioneering the space and have been profiled on Forbes with hundreds more waiting in the wings. But in this ecosystem, the demand for blockchain services is high, while the supply is slightly monopolized.
Offering viable and workable blockchain services have come into the wheelhouse of players such as IBM and the Linux Foundation with HyperLedger – which accounts for over 50 percent of the blockchain services used by those on Forbes’ Blockchain 50 list. There are also others like Amazon, with its Amazon Web Services blockchain, as well as the R3 consortium, Microsoft, and Oracle.
Another, less spoken about enterprise-grade blockchain solution offerer is Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). HPE is the enterprise Lab of the 80-year-old information technology company that was founded in November of 2015.
HPE’s blockchain offerings include their Mission Critical Distributed Ledger Technology, allowing customers to execute distributed ledger workloads in environments that demand 100 percent fault tolerance, and are fully scalable. Also included is HPE Pointnext, a workshop, proof of value, and implementation services for blockchain aimed at helping businesses define their use cases, as well as design and test potential solutions in order to maintain ‘operational excellence.’
HPE has already partnered with automotive manufacturing company Continental to put vehicle data on the blockchain in a Data Monetization Platform (DMP), but will they be able to go further to become a real force in the growing world of enterprise blockchain services?
Entering the race
HPE’s blockchain offerings have been aimed at many sectors, including financial customers, automakers, and airlines. Their Mission Critical Distributed Ledger Technology is based on R3 Corda and can be deployed on-premises as well as in the cloud or a hybrid environment.
Their DLT only came available in early 2018, at a time where cryptocurrency markets were in decline, but enterprise blockchain interest was piquing. However, as a report from 451 Research outlines, HPE was already behind the pack of IBM, Oracle, and Microsoft by this time.
HPE is, however, embracing the open source and collaborative feeling of this space by partnering with strategic partners including Intel, Microsoft, and R3, to provide a blockchain solution. They are also working with Accenture and PwC to help customers understand the benefits and challenges of blockchain.
HPE is a member of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance and is even talking with Hyperledger to learn how it can help customers that use those platforms. Under the Pointnext umbrella, HPE offers hackathons where developers work with HPE experts on use cases and proofs of concept.
Most of the focus with this enterprise offering from HPE is therefore B2B transactions, but they are also looking ahead with the combining of AI, blockchain, and IoT.
A competitive space
There has been enough interest from enterprises and major businesses for a bevy of information technology companies to try and lead the way with packageable enterprise blockchain solutions.
The technology may be very nascent, but some well-regarded names in the space; pioneers of computing; are doing their best to be at the forefront of a new era of technology. Microsoft and IBM are old foes in the emerging technology game, and these are just a few of the companies HPE is up against.
IBM’s Blockchain Platform, along with a series of consulting services, enables organizations to quickly activate, develop, operate, govern, and secure their own blockchain-enabled business networks. It is based on the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric framework and Hyperledger Composer blockchain application development tool and runs in the IBM Cloud.
The permeation of Hyperledger and IBM’s blockchain offering is highly evident across some of the most prominent enterprises currently. The reputation of the company and the power of Hyperledger offers a secure and flexible solution that many are already flocking to.
Then there is Microsoft, another pioneer of the technology age. It is a founding member of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, and its blockchain-as-a-service offering was designed to work with the Ethereum blockchain, the original smart contract chain
Microsoft’s Confidential Consortium (Coco) Framework is intended to reduce the complicated development techniques needed to meet the operational and security needs of enterprises. Coco reevaluates existing assumptions of public blockchains in the context
of a permissioned consortium where participants are known.
With Coco, Microsoft expects to offer a foundation with which existing blockchain protocols can be integrated to deliver enterprise-ready solutions.
Newer companies that are also trying to get their slice of the merging pie include Amazon, Oracle, and Chain Inc with all of their offerings also aimed at being enterprise-grade.
HPE has the benefit of a reliable and trustworthy brand, as well as the right business links and partnerships already in the space. It now has to be seen if they can make a big enough splash in the industry to disrupt the monopoly that is building from IBM, Microsoft, and the rest.