Blockchain has emerged as one of many noteworthy technological innovations over the last few years. Although it was originally made famous for its association with digital currency like Bitcoin, the tech industry has proposed a variety of additional uses for the technology. Before looking at the connection between blockchain and data centers, it’s worth explaining what blockchain is at its core.
Blockchains store pieces of digital information (the “blocks”) in a public database (the “chain”) to record transactions between users and other changes to its database conducted without intermediaries. This record is encoded in a way that can be tracked by any user forever for maximum transparency.
Essentially, blockchain is a digital ledger of transactions that cannot be corrupted. Although typically used for economic transactions, it may also be programmed to record effectively anything of value. The blockchain infrastructure — sometimes called a “new internet” — lives in a state of consensus in that it automatically checks in with itself every ten minutes, like a self-auditing ecosystem.
There are a number of obvious benefits to having information held in a blockchain as a shared and continually reconciled database:
A global network of computers uses blockchain infrastructure to jointly manage the database that records transactions. No one central authority controls this database, and the potential for mass collaboration is only now beginning to be understood. In terms of file storage, blockchain’s decentralization means that distributed data across the network cannot be hacked or lost. There’s also potential for file transfers and streaming times to improve, even in the face of an overload and the continually growing pool of content and data.
Data centers are evolving because of an increase in data and users, along with the need for real-time, multi-users data retrieval with high demand for fast transmissions. Data centers are evolving digital infrastructures for cloud services, and the next-generation of cloud service might very well be adapted to incorporate a blockchain network. Simply put, blockchain data center infrastructure can accommodate increasing data processing demands that ensure rapid, seamless, and secure transmission.
Traditionally, enterprise data center infrastructures employed a local client-to-server traffic interaction. For cloud computing to occur, on the other hand, the network traffic is server-to-server dominant. Server-to-server traffic can uphold the demand for greater bandwidth and efficiency to support heavier traffic from an ever-growing user base. In this environment, a client-to-server traffic network gets bogged down when bandwidth is consumed, causing dreaded latency issues.
The development of blockchain infrastructure offers a lot of potential in terms of implementing secure, verifiable transaction-based applications. And this technology seems to address a number of problems with the internet. Blockchain cybersecurity thwarts hackers, reduces concerns about invalid transactions while promoting efficient, fully documented business processes.
Data centers are complex systems, and blockchain offers a level of transparency not yet seen with traditional infrastructure. The technology can track, log, and store metrics about the health of networks. Whether the data is public or private, the blockchains are transparent to permitted participants, which makes authentication easier.
With all the talk of blockchain infrastructure being public and decentralized, many organizations have justifiable security concerns. It should be noted, however, that blockchain has a high degree of security built into the protocol. Blockchain transmits value and the data is verified by the network and stored everywhere, which thwarts hackers and unauthorized access. As Internet of Things (IoT) devices become more common, blockchain data center integration may be able to address and correct some of the security challenges associated they present.
The digital environment is never static. As technology continues to evolve, so will blockchain. It would be foolhardy to presume that integrating blockchain cybersecurity would mean data centers are now and forever immune to cyberattacks or data issues.
Changes to the technology must be continually monitored so issues can be addressed as they arise. Network security plans should still be updated, perimeters protected, and employees trained to safely manage electronic communications.
Although blockchain infrastructure is certainly revolutionary, there is at least one area in need of improvement. Today, users must validate data quality before it enters the blockchain. The biggest vulnerability, then, lies outside the framework in trusted oracles, since a corrupted oracle could lead to problems across the entire network. Fortunately, this problem can be overcome with the right protections in place for network security measures as well as effective data governance policies.
With the increased security and transparency afforded by blockchain infrastructure, users will have greater confidence in the protection of their data. As transactions are recorded chronologically to form an immutable chain, the transactions can be more or less private, depending on how it’s implementing it. The “ledger” is distributed across multiple participants in the network, where copies exist and are simultaneously updated — every node that participates can verify the true state of the ledger and at a very low cost. It’s a better way to share information across systems, allowing for greater efficiency and accuracy.
Although blockchain is still embryonic in terms of its potential in the marketplace, enterprises are moving towards data center integration because of the unmatched trust it creates between people and machines, while also creating process efficiencies for transactions and eliminating latency issues known with traditional data center infrastructures.
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