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Deloitte and World Economic Forum in 2018 identified “Digital Ledger Technologies (DLT)” or blockchain as they are commonly referred as, among one of the six mega trends predicting that the blockchain will hit mainstream storing around 10% of global GDP, by 2025 while providing the compelling statistical evidences.

Looking at the current adoption, it seems possible. The way blockchain has emerged from cryptocurrencies and has established itself as enabler of trust for critical social and business applications like identities, contracts, legal documentation, energy trading, banking etc clearly shows that it is no fad. It is here to stay.

Image Source: WEF Report 2018

Leveraging DevOps

Harvard Business Review suggested that blockchain is a foundational technology and thus “has the potential to create new foundations for our economic and social systems.” Blockchain is a great digital invention and applied in the right areas, will change the world

Blockchain discussions lead to a lot of brilliant ideas. Having established that blockchain the answer to further optimization, businesses start exploring the tools and processes to embark the blockchain journey.  Every great ideas, design and concept needs right tools and processes. Tools and processes are the lifelines of workmen and enable them in bringing ideas to reality. Same goes for Blockchains.

In my previous blog, I mentioned how a decision to go for blockchain necessitates the need for comprehensive “Business process re-engineering”. In this article, we will explore a next step that will enable us in our journey to blockchain technologies-  The “DevOps”.

DevOps

DevOps increases an organization’s ability to deliver applications and services at high velocity, evolving and improving systems at a faster pace.  Given the increasing importance of operations in our service-oriented world, it is utmost important to enhance collaboration between development and operations staff throughout all stages of the development lifecycle.

DevOps is the practice of operations and development engineers participating together in the entire service lifecycle, from design through the development process to production support. DevOps, enable speed of deploying applications as operations staff make use many of the same techniques as developers for their systems work while providing practices that automate operational steps and standardize configurations.

DevOps for Blockchain

Organizations implementing blockchain are adding a new application to their ecosystem.  Blockchain technology means shared technology ecosystems with heavy usage of IT and networking power.  New as well as old applications must to be able to work well with existing on-prem and remote systems. Ensuring the integrity of a blockchain network is paramount.

New approaches to business networks require the ability to simulate the behaviour of consensus and test business processes and transactions. Blockchains increase the dependency on APIs and the need to test APIs from multiple perspectives and test integrations at scale without affecting distributed ledgers in which any interaction is immutable and final.

This means bringing the DevOps approach into the development process.

An automated DevOps driven production and delivery process will ensure that organizations leveraging blockchain continue to innovate and stick to release timelines without compromising quality. With DevOps; agile development teams can move fast to meet business requirements and implement application changes and agile infrastructure/operational teams can keep systems performing, ensure computing environments are secure, and manage computing resources.

Cost and complexity of maintaining cross-network records and processes can be managed through blockchain application architecture and integration framework. However – without continuous integration and deployment throughout the application development lifecycle, these solutions might be extremely risky, time consuming and expensive thus necessitating the focus on continuous integration to ensure a holistic application while also being keenly focused on deployment.

Is Devops answer to your requirements?

The businesses looking for dramatic improvements in performance, have failed to be dissuaded by the challenges of disruption. Once the basic questions-  who can benefit from this technology, what are the key blockchain applications and how will they work, how do organisations create value from these applications, have been answered, organizations move ahead.

But it is also important to consider – “Is DevOps the way to go ?”

DevOps might not work for you. There are tens of ways to solve one problem and to optimize the processes. Trying to use the same tool and process in almost all situations is neither a possibility nor a practical approach. Both DevOps and Blockchain are the new way of working that need clear definition of benefits and change of mindsets. DevOps will entail new way of designing with Microservice Architecture (MSA) and probably a proliferation of new “automation” tooling”. Blockchain too isn’t about small incremental changes. It is disruptive.

Without adopting the right technology, design, and architecture, DevOps can be quite a challenge in terms of adoption and management. Blockchain DevOps ensures continuous delivery of a line of business applications, so you’re always connected. The endeavour should be to adopt Devops and automate the delivery of and blockchain application components while reducing unnecessary manual intervention as much as possible.

Go Ahead

Blockchain is the technology of the future. It is an inevitable journey.  With some caution and right approach, CXO can mitigate the risks. Blockchain technology offers immense transformation potential. Enterprise solution providers like SAP, are the best partners to enable the adoption of this technology – providing the right strategic and technical support for your blockchain voyage.

……………….

Bharti is Director, Digital Transformation and CXO advisory at SAP.

She provides the thought Leadership for the strategic client initiatives in disruptive technologies of analytics, blockchain and IOT including. She has been leading several large and complex IT consulting, process re-engineering, system integration, and business transformation programs across marquee clients globally.

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