Applications of Blockchain-based Cloud Computing

Kenny Kleinerman
Cloud Use Cases
18 Apr 2022

Cloud computing, with its impressive benefits, has taken the software tech industry by storm. Businesses worldwide use cloud computing for data storage and backup, software development and testing, disaster recovery, and more. The use of the cloud is not limited to the IT/software industry—many other industries, such as healthcare, automotive, and retail, are also using cloud computing to build innovative solutions. However, cloud computing has its own limitations. This is where blockchain, another disruptive technology, comes in.

Millions of businesses use blockchain technology for different industrial applications because of its transparent, secure, and decentralized nature. However, using blockchain and cloud together can further revolutionize industries.

While blockchain offers better network security, data privacy, and decentralization, the cloud provides high scalability and elasticity. Hence, cloud and blockchain together have the potential to create innovative solutions, in particular with a distributed cloud like Ridge Cloud.

In this article, we’ll provide a thorough understanding of cloud computing blockchain, blockchain cloud security, blockchain cloud platform, and related concepts.

Let’s first explain what blockchain technology is.

 

Blockchain Explained

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Blockchain is a type of distributed database that stores data electronically in blocks and then creates a chain of these data blocks using cryptography. Blocks in blockchain are essentially information containers where data is encrypted and stored.

A block itself consists of several components, such as block header and block body. Each block in the chain has a timestamp that shows the exact time the block was added to the chain, a cryptographic hash of the previous block, and stored data.

Blocks have limited storage capacities, so once they are filled, they are closed and linked to the last filled block, creating a data chain. The blockchain system then stores any new data in a newly created block. Blocks (and the data within them) are first verified before a new block can be formed.

Blockchain is also sometimes referred to as Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). because it records and stores transactions and tracks digital assets. There are several transactions in each block, and whenever a transaction occurs, its record is added to the ledger of every participant. A blockchain system only allows the distribution of the transaction’s records—no one can copy or transfer them.

Once the chain in the blockchain accepts a block, it’s extremely difficult to remove or alter it. This means it’s almost impossible to delete or edit the records of transactions in the blockchain. Additionally, since blockchain creates a chain of blocks, hackers cannot corrupt a blockchain system without changing each and every block. Hence, blockchain reduces security and privacy risks and eliminates fraud.

Blockchain technology uses decentralized networks that minimize the need for participants to place trust in one another. Decentralization in the blockchain is the process of transferring the power, decision-making, and authority from a centralized entity, such as an organization or individual, to a distributed network.

 

Blockchain Technology and Cloud Computing

The applications of blockchain in cloud computing are linked to the Cloud of Things (CoT), a combination of cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT). So, before we dive into blockchain cloud computing and blockchain-based cloud, let’s first discuss what exactly the Cloud of Things is.

Cloud of Things provides a powerful and flexible cloud computing environment to manage IoT services more efficiently. This means CoT enhances the performance of an IoT system.

IoT is a system of numerous interconnected devices, such as sensors, home appliances, vehicles, etc. The devices in an IoT system can connect and exchange data over the internet without any human intervention.

Many industries use IoT systems to collect data from surroundings and store and analyze it to get valuable information for taking the right action. However, IoT devices have limited storage capacity, so they use the cloud to store large sensor data, and this is what forms CoT. There are different cloud service options available, such as public clouds, private clouds, and hybrid clouds.

If you want to learn about IoT and cloud computing in detail, check out Ridge’s article on IoT and the Cloud.

The Need for Blockchain Cloud

Cloud computing and CoT infrastructure have a few risks and limitations that blockchain can help eliminate. These risks and limitations include:

  • With cloud computing, users have limited control over their data, processes, and code once they upload them to the cloud servers.
  • With cloud computing, users don’t know much about the internal operation mechanisms, and they have to trust cloud providers for data processing, which can lead to security and privacy concerns.
  • CoT uses centralized communication models, which makes it difficult to scale the service operation and expand the IoT networks to a larger deployment. Centralized network infrastructure also increases communication latency and increases power consumption for IoT devices due to large data transmissions.

How Blockchain Cloud Works

In blockchain-based cloud computing, blockchain can be used for secure network management by hosting the blockchain network as Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) in a cloud environment.

BaaS supports IoT applications by offering different blockchain-enabled services, such as smart contract services, verification services on user transactions, and cloud blockchain storage.

The figure below provides a better understanding of how a blockchain-based cloud works:

Benefits of Blockchain-based Cloud Computing

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Blockchain offers several features that can help improve CoT systems and cloud solutions. The benefits of blockchain in edge and cloud computing include:

Decentralization

A big issue with CoT is the dependency on a centralized server for managing data and making decisions. If a problem occurs in the central server, it can affect the whole system and can cause data loss. Additionally, hackers can attack and corrupt the central server, making it less secure.

However, blockchain-based distributed cloud computing can solve these issues. In blockchain-based decentralized cloud computing, several copies of the same data exist on multiple computer nodes.

This means if one server fails, it won’t result in the failure of the whole system. Also, blockchain-based distributed cloud computing mitigates the risk of data loss. Hence, cloud-based blockchain services offer faster disaster management.

A decentralized cloud computing blockchain network also helps with better tracking of goods and services. This is especially a big benefit for the logistics industry that involves regular tracking of vehicles, inventory, etc.

Enhanced Cloud Security and Storage

Storing CoT data in the cloud is a big concern because this data usually consists of people’s personal information, like video footage, voice recordings, and more. Any leak of such data can be quite harmful. However, many blockchain cloud storage companies offer blockchain-based cloud storage solutions that can greatly improve security.

A decentralized cloud storage blockchain solution divides the user’s data into several encrypted segments and links them through a hashing function. Each segment is stored in a decentralized location. The cloud storage blockchain solution also adds another layer of security to these segments and distributes them across the network.

With blockchain in cloud storage, only the users with the encryption key can access or read the data. These strong security provisions of distributed cloud storage blockchain ensure that hackers are unable to decrypt the data. Hence, blockchain security in cloud computing makes cloud solutions more reliable.

Additionally, blockchain for cloud storage prevents data tampering. Blockchain storage cloud solutions are capable of tracking the storage and backup history to ensure that there is no data tampering. Blockchain-based cloud storage systems are also a lot faster, so they help reduce costs and improve efficiency.

As you can see, blockchain technology and cloud storage together provide a secure and efficient storage solution with unlimited storage capacity.

If you want to learn about blockchain and cloud security in detail, check out the research paper “Blockchain Security in Cloud Computing Use Cases, Challenges, and Solutions.”

 

Cloud Computing vs. Blockchain

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Cloud computing and blockchain may have lots of similarities, but there is a clear difference between blockchain and cloud computing. In fact, if we talk about blockchain vs. cloud computing, these two technologies differ in several ways.

Firstly, standard cloud computing uses centralized architecture, whereas blockchain cloud architecture fully relies on decentralizations. Another difference between cloud computing and blockchain is that with cloud services, you can easily store the data via the internet. But, blockchain uses different types of encryptions and stores data in special databases. When cloud providers integrate blockchain technology into their tech stack, you get blockchain’s security combined with the cloud’s convenience.

When we talk about cloud vs. blockchain or blockchain vs. cloud storage, another clear difference is that blockchain offers far better security than the cloud. The data within the standard cloud is editable, but with cloud storage using blockchain, you cannot change information or data. Finally, the blockchain prevents data tampering, whereas cloud computing is more vulnerable to hackers and data breaches.

 

Blockchain IaaS

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a cloud computing service model through which a third-party cloud service provider delivers resources, such as storage, virtual private servers, and networking over the internet.

With IaaS, users are responsible for their data, which means if any data is lost, the users must recover it themselves. Additionally, installing and maintaining operating systems and apps is also the users’ responsibility. IaaS services are also referred to as cloud infrastructure services

Blockchain IaaS is similar to the IaaS cloud computing service model but with added security and decentralization. With an IaaS blockchain cloud service, a cloud computing service could use the idle capacity of CPUs and GPUs working in a decentralized network and offer more computing resources to users on a per-user basis.

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the benefits of IoT using blockchain?

Blockchain IoT has several benefits. The biggest advantage of blockchain for the Internet of Things (IoT) is enhanced security. IoT data for smart home automation, like smart doorbells and appliances, consists of the personal data of users, so it’s essential to keep it secured. When IoT data is stored in the cloud, it is prone to attack by hackers. But using a cloud blockchain service can keep the data completely secure through encryption and hashing. Additionally, blockchain for IoT offers greater flexibility and accelerates data exchange.

What is the difference between cloud and blockchain?

When it comes to blockchain vs. cloud, there are a few differences. First, with the cloud, users can store and access data online, whereas a blockchain system stores data in blocks and then links them together using cryptography to create a chain. Another difference is that cloud computing is a centralized model, whereas blockchain uses decentralized architecture.

Will blockchain replace the cloud?

Although there are a few differences between blockchain and cloud computing when they are used together, they have the potential to create robust, innovative solutions. Instead of blockchain replacing the cloud, it will be used together with the cloud to create a cloud blockchain platform. Cloud blockchain enhances cloud security through encryption and hashing and prevents data tampering. Additionally, blockchain on the cloud offers faster data management because, with cloud blockchain architecture, there are several copies of the same data stored on multiple computer nodes.

What is a blockchain hybrid cloud?

A hybrid cloud is a mix of on-premise, public cloud, and private cloud. Blockchain services can be applied across hybrid cloud deployments for better security.


Author:
Linkedin Kenny Kleinerman, Head of Content | Ridge
As the Head of Content at Ridge, Kenny is in charge of navigating the tough subjects and bringing the Cloud down to Earth.