BTP SextantBlockchain Technology Partners (BTP) has made its integration of DAML with Amazon QLDB generally available. DAML is the open source smart contract language created by Digital Asset. QLDB is a managed, serverless database which features an immutable and cryptographically verifiable transaction log. With DAML/QLDB integration, Amazon customers will be able to access the benefits of smart contracts underpinned by an immutable ledger.

There are plenty of scenarios where there is a trusted centralised operator or a natural authority but there is still a requirement to ensure data is not tampered with,” said Kevin O’Donnell, CTO of BTP. “DAML on QLDB addresses these use cases combining the expressive power of DAML with the resilience of Amazon Web Services.

Kevin O’Donnell
Kevin O’Donnell

The relevance of DAML

DAML is an open source platform-agnostic smart contract language designed for use in multi-party processes. As such DAML abstracts the underlying complexities of blockchains (distributed ledgers) and traditional databases. This enables, according to BTP):

  • developers to focus on the business logic of an applications
  • clients to obtain deployment flexibility and application portability.

Traditional languages and toolchains need more when it comes to modern distributed applications. There are complexities – for example cryptography or distributed state synchronisation – which often demand ground-up redesign before application deployment. This means that it does not look like the familiar, though with good reason. It addresses different issues.

Built in simulation tools, plus a strong type system, mean developers can assure themselves that their applications are doing exactly what they intend. In theory, code written in DAML should be easier to maintain – and iterate once an application is running.

DAML, QLDB, Amazon, Sextant and Digital Asset

Amazon QLDB is the second Amazon product to integrate with DAML. QLDB is a centralised ledger that features an immutable and cryptographically verifiable transaction log. QLDB, therefore, suits customers who need an immutable ledger but do not require decentralisation.

Amazon QLDB becomes now the third commercially supported platform available through BTP’s Sextant for DAML, an integrated offering which seeks to simplify the deployment and management of DAML enabled ledgers. This complements Sextant for DAML’s support for Hyperledger Sawtooth and Amazon Aurora.

Sextant for Sawtooth uses a BTP certified distribution of Hyperledger Sawtooth. This delivers one-click deployment of Sawtooth networks on Kubernetes:

  • on-prem
  • in a cloud
  • or with a combination of both.

Sextant handles the on-going management and maintenance of blockchain networks using closed loop automation. It uses a distribution built from open source components. The objective is to ensure interoperability and auditability and the result is available in two editions, with both available on the AWS Marketplace:

  • Sextant for Sawtooth (which seeks to unlock the benefits of blockchain for business)
  • Sextant for DAML (which seeks to do the same for smart contracts for business).

Developed in partnership with Digital Asset (which believes DAML is a leading smart contract language) Sextant for DAML is a logical extension. The fact that it is available on Hyperledger Sawtooth as well as Amazon QLDB and Aurora emphasises its relevance.

Csilla Zsigri
Csilla Zsigri

Sextant for DAML seeks to remedy blockchain-related enterprise pain points such as infrastructure complexity, usability and skills gaps. We see DAML facilitating the coding of complex business processes while Sextant takes care of automation and operations thus ensuring developers focus on capturing business value rather than worrying about the underlying infrastructure,” said Csilla Zsigri, Senior Analyst – Blockchain & DLT at 451 Research. “This combination not only makes sense but can also potentially save enterprises considerable time.

Enterprise Times: what does this mean

BTP is not the only vendor making use of DAML. Unibright’s Blockchain Integration Framework is another.

Possibly the greater importance comes with the Amazon and QLDB connections. This means that enterprises can ‘kick the tires’ at a relatively low cost to find out of DAML and QLDB are suitable for their organisations.

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Charles Brett
Charles Brett is a business/technology analyst consultant. His specialist areas include enterprise software, blockchain and enterprise mobility tech (including metering). Specific industry sectors of interest and experience include finance (especially systems supporting wholesale finance), telecommunications and energy. Charles has spoken at multiple industry conferences, has written for numerous publications (including the London Times and the Financial Times). He was the General Chair of the bi-annual High Performance Systems Workshop, 2005. In addition he is an author and novelist. His Technology books include: Making the Most of Mobility Vol I (eBook, 2012); Explaining iTunes, iPhones and iPads for Windows Users (eBook, 2011); 5 Axes of Business Application Integration (2004). His published novels, in the Corruption Series, include: The HolyPhone Confessional Crisis, Corruption’s Price: A Spanish Deceit and Virginity Despoiled. The fourth in The Corruption Series - Resurrection - has is now available. Charles has a B.A. and M.A in Modern History from the University of Oxford. He has lived or worked in Italy, Abu Dhabi, South Africa, California and New York, Spain, Israel, Estonia and Cyprus.

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