Oracle cuts ribbon on distributed ledger service

Big Red brags bank backing for blockchain biz

Oracle confirmed a bunch of firms in financial services - traditionally a conservative sector - were among the first to test its blockchain platform that today was made generally available to all and sundry.

The service, trailed at last year’s gabfest Oracle Open World, aims to provide a resilient, scalable and secure blockchain for punters.

According to Gartner's 2018 CIO survey, the tech is heavily overhyped: just 1 per cent of survey-takers had agreed to full-blown blockchain projects; 8 per cent were in short-term planning or toying with the tech; and 77 per cent had no interest whatsoever.

But to coincide with general availability of Oracle's blockchain service, Big Red released details of businesses that have already made the leap and are using Oracle's platform for managing and tracking goods through supply chains.

These include the Arab Jordan Investment Bank, which aims to reduce the complexity of electronic fund transfers; CargoSmart, for building prototypes for documentation processes in 12-week sprints; and Nigeria Customs, which aims to automate customs excise trade business processes.

Oracle is, in truth, running to keep up with competitors: IBM launched a public cloud service in March last year and SAP made its Leonardo blockchain service open for business last month.

And Fujitsu last week threw a different kind of hat into the ring, trying to entice cautious customers with an intensive five-day "proof of business" consultancy service for the tech.

The marketing bluster around blockchain and smart contracts has encouraged customers to apply distributed ledger tech, even when it was clearly not the best option, Fujitsu had claimed.

But Oracle’s canned statement touted the tech as widely applicable to a multitude of sector and problems.

“Blockchain has the power to impact almost all industries and has applicability to verticals from transportation, supply chain and logistics, energy, retail and ecommerce, to financial services, telecommunications and public sector,” it said.

In common with other vendors, Oracle’s blockchain is built on the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric. Customers, who pay per transaction on the blockchain, can use Oracle's pre-assembled applications, or can build their networks on Oracle's platform.

Big Red said that the platform is pre-assembled with infrastructure dependencies, container lifecycle management, event services, identity management, REST proxy and other operations and monitoring tools.

The service is an Oracle-managed cloud platform, which the business said is backed by a 99.95 percent availability SLA, which it hopes will lure big biz customers. It also promises autonomous recovery agents and continuous ledger backup capabilities for multi-data centre disaster recovery across availability domains. ®

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