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What Makes Kaleido a Platform?

Since this post was written, Hyperledger FireFly has reached 1.0. Learn more here!

Throughout the engineering on this project, we’ve thought of Kaleido as a Platform… but what makes it that?

Fully-managed software as a service

The acceleration of Cloud doesn’t just come from the deployment speed of infrastructure & software.

It also comes from letting a domain specialist use their skills and know-how, to optimize, scale, run, and keep running, the technology your business depends on.

Deployment automation of infrastructure is great to get you started, but it’s solving the easy part of a hard puzzle.

  • You need a solution that gets you going instantly
  • You need to be able to blow it away and start again just as fast, as part of your own pipeline
  • When you have it running, you need it to stay running, and scale
  • As the technology evolves, you need to retain stability and access new features
  • When you have a application issue, you need to be able to diagnose it

These well understood challenges are acute in the Blockchain space, where the technology is rapidly evolving in open source communities, the skills are often new to existing IT teams, and application development is Cloud-first on pilot projects that are first-of-a-kind within an Enterprise.

At Kaleido we’re lucky to have a team that’s been there and got the t-shirt many times before on Enterprise software, Enterprise-grade Cloud, and Blockchain. We’ve made the most of every one of the the team’s many years of experience in building Kaleido, and we’re proud of the technology choices we’ve made so far. We are also proud of having made them iteratively through rugged testing and user-driven design.

Importantly we don’t think we’re done either. We will continue to improve and iterate.

Resilient, scalable infrastructure

Kaleido is the first Amazon Web Services (AWS) Advanced Technology Partner in the Blockchain space.

In Kaleido we’ve been bringing up and tearing down Kubernetes clusters of 60+ VMs, multiple times a day, and driving workloads mining thousands of Ethereum transactions per second. At our peak testing so far has exploited nearly 250 VCPUs and 1TB of memory, as well as 100MB/s of I/O bandwidth writing chain data.

AWS has been a role model to us for just the kind of Cloud acceleration we want to offer our customers.

We know we need to be wherever your next-generation Blockchain apps are

Our architecture separates the control-plane where we securely manage our tenants, from the network-planes where customers’ permissioned chains execute.

Our net-planes provide network-level isolation between consortia environments, as well as secure TLS ingress from the public internet, and per-member strong generated-key based authentication (validated via HTTPS basic auth) for each member of an individual consortium.

Our deep exploitation of Kubernetes and Docker for abstraction, and buy-in to infrastructure-as-code, mean we have been able to go out of the door with three regions, and have proven our skills and infrastructure to scale to new regions, tenancy models, and cloud providers in the future.

First class user experience

Something that I believe makes Kaleido special in the Blockchain space, is that we have designed it from the top down – users first.
Rather than bottom-up from the protocol layer.

Our design began from the perspective of Enterprises moving from Concept to Consortium, through PoC, establishment of a legal entity, Pilot, and Production. We also factored in the importance of the first-use experience, and that many users will just want a running Ethereum node as fast a possible.

So the user experience guides you down a path that is aligned with the end goal, and gives you the tools you need for Enterprise deployment, while hopefully not getting in the way in the early stages.

  • Collaborating with other users in a single Kaleido organization
  • Building a business consortium across multiple Kaleido organizations, with separate administrative ownership
  • Deploying multiple environments, with different protocol providers and consensus algorithms, in the same consortium
  • Support for multiple regions, considering sovereignty of both chain-data and user profiles

Having had sponsored users actively using the platform during development, has been really insightful. It’s a proud part of our development culture that we’re not afraid to change things, and throw things away when we see an opportunity to improve. For all of the core parts of our experience we have iterated multiple times, based on the real-user feedback.

APIs for everything

We put a stake in the ground right at the beginning of the project that there would be nothing you could do in the UI, that you can’t do in the documented REST APIs (apart from initial registration / API Key generation).

It feels really good to be going live knowing this still holds true.

We hope you approve of the RESTful design of our HTTP resource structure, and we’ve also created a Command Line backed by an open source Golang SDK – which we validate by building our own Terraform provider for deploying and tearing down our scale and load testing environments.

OK so you’re a SaaS (or BaaS) – but what makes Kaleido a platform?

So you’re thinking – All that makes sense, but any Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) worth it’s salt cares about the above. And you’re right.

What makes me so passionate about our Kaleido project, is the potential it has as a springboard for business adoption of Blockchain.

The problems of Blockchain adoption are not just technical

I have the pleasure of working with talented leaders in Kaleido that understand this through real experience.

  • Who understand the challenge of establishing and governing a Business Consortium
  • Who understand why so many Enterprise Blockchain projects thus far have failed
  • Who understand how hard and important it is for large Enterprises to participate meaningfully in a technology certain to disrupt them
  • Who see the potential, and imperative, for Enterprise to contribute to transformation Blockchain can bring
  • Who understand why features like main-net tethering are needed ensure the decentralized applications of tomorrow, don’t end up being the same the same as the distributed database applications of today

As a mentor of mine reminded me many times, it’s the so that in the user story that matters.

So while my role in engineering is making sure the technology works, intuitively, at scale, every time… I believe we’re doing that so that businesses can realize the nascent transformational potential of the Blockchain technology.

So for me Kaleido being a platform, means it's somewhere those kinds of changes can happen.

Learn more about the Kaleido blockchain platform, watch a demo and create your own free account today.

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Interested in Blockchain?

Start learning blockchain and creating enterprise solutions today with a free Kaleido account!

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