To support customers, Oracle has added new features to its blockchain platform. It designed these to assist users accelerate development, integration and deployment of new blockchain applications.
“Blockchain improves the trust relationship between franchisor and the franchises by including best practices and decentralized access to the transactions. Normally, merchandise acceptance processes are manual and require an operator entering the data into the system. But, for example when a franchise has economic problems, it can repudiate that delivery, saying that it never received the merchandise. They can manipulate the database and, on the other hand, also the franchisor can manipulate it,” said José María Mínguez Gutiérrez, Transactional Services Manager of SERES. “With blockchain and its immutability and traceability of information, all these problems disappear and all parties can trust the data and the transactions.”
Potential business impact
While blockchain can streamline processes involving supply chains, identity, cross-border payments and fraud detection, many businesses struggle to implement blockchain networks within their existing process boundaries. Oracle Blockchain Platform seeks to address these challenges by streamlining:
- the process of first building and then integrating blockchain applications into existing business networks
- connecting them into the relevant business processes within these ecosystems.
Oracle claims businesses around the world are reaping the benefits of blockchain applications built on its platform. Three broad approaches apply: they can:
- take Oracle’s business-ready blockchain so as to be rapid in their move from experimentation to production
- add blockchain functionality to an existing solution
- create new blockchain applications from scratch.
“Oracle’s continued leadership and investment in enterprise blockchain technology ensures that the platform has all of the critical capabilities organizations need to build blockchain applications to handle their most important business transactions,” said Frank Xiong, group vice president, Blockchain Product Development, Oracle. “The number of customers already running blockchain applications based on Oracle’s blockchain platform is testament to the strength of the technology and the value it brings to a broad range of industries.”
Selected Oracle customers with blockchain in use
Among Oracle’s list of customers with production deployments built on its enterprise blockchain platform are:
- China Distance Education Holdings Limited, which uses blockchain to share educational records and professional certifications across educational institutions; this assists employers and recruiters verify the educational credentials claimed by individuals
- Circulor, which exploits blockchain to track conflict minerals from their origin at the mines to processing and use in electronic components to ensure ethical sourcing of raw materials (in this Circulor is not unique).
- SERES, where blockchain brings greater trust and efficiency to electronic invoicing in franchise networks (this shares ordering and fulfillment data between franchisors and franchisees).
Other organisations, which have built or integrated production-ready blockchain applications, include:
- Arab Jordan Investment Bank
- Certified Origins
- ICS Financial Systems
- Nigeria Customs
“Oracle’s blockchain solution delivers enterprise performance, security and scalability right out-of-the-box,” said Doug Johnson-Poensgen, CEO and founder of Circulor. “We started with the Oracle Blockchain Platform four months ago and were able to go from zero to a production system spanning multiple organizations involved in ethical sourcing of minerals within a matter of months. Another key advantage is that we were able to integrate Oracle’s blockchain platform into a hybrid blockchain network spanning multiple clouds and easily integrate with our existing systems and applications.”
Oracle Blockchain Platform enhancements
With its latest release, Oracle has added:
- developer-oriented productivity enhancements; the new DevOps capabilities make the platform easier to integrate with existing business and IT systems
- consortium-oriented identity management features.
These offer common capabilities which are relevant to a diverse range of organisations conducting business transactions via a blockchain network. As blockchain becomes an established data store in the enterprise, the platform enables Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse customers to:
- capture blockchain transaction history and current state data for analytics
- integrate this data with other data sources.
Other new features include:
- Enhanced world state database to support standard SQL-based ledger queries; this reduces the complexity of developing chaincode while using readily available programming skills
- smart contracts which can rely on query results (verified at transaction commit) and boost performance of rich data queries
- ‘rich history’ database shadows transaction history into a relational database schema in the Autonomous Data Warehouse (or into other Oracle databases); this enables analytics integration for interactive dashboards and reports
- enhanced REST APIs – for event subscription, blockchain administration/configuration and monitoring of network health, transaction rates, and other statistics (to simplify integration with existing enterprise IT tools)
- identity federation; this extends authentication capabilities to work with external identity providers to facilitate consortium blockchains with their existing identity management systems
- third-party certificate support, for registering client organisations on a blockchain network (this enables use of existing certificates issued by trusted third parties)
- Hyperledger Fabric 1.3 support, which confirms Oracle’s commitment to stay current with the Hyperledger community when issuing new releases; it also involves contributing to the open source community.
Enterprise Times: what does this mean
Oracle started late into blockchain, compared to its competitors. Nevertheless it is pressing on an open door; Oracle customers are as keen to integrate blockchain with existing Oracle product implementations which explains why Oracle now offers a plethora of blockchain-relevant products and services, including Oracle’s:
- Blockchain Applications Cloud
- Blockchain Platform
- Supply Chain Management (SCM) Cloud
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Cloud
- and other Cloud Applications.
Besides the new functions and features described above, Oracle is starting to talk about customer implementations. The news is thin, thus far. With time it should deepen. Real insights should appear when customers start discussing the advantages (and disadvantages), especially how integrating with existing Oracle products and services. Hopefully this will be in 2019.