Infrastructure is about to change; Guardium + 0chain
I’ve been in tech a long time and just like fashion technology typically runs in cycles. Trends rise and fall and then rise again… lather rinse and repeat. Every other decade or so we see some major leaps forward that establish a new cycle.
I’m not breaking any new ground saying that the current rise of cryptocurrency and blockchain is a significant event in technology and in some regards culturally. The words blockchain & cryptocurrency are the easiest for most people to pick out as the most prominent markers of this time period in tech.
When I started in tech in the late 90s I witnessed the rise of the fledgling web companies I also saw many of them fail in the great tech crash of 2000/2001. While many people might cite the hype and questionable economics of this environment as the stand-out events of this timeframe. For those of us building those companies (regardless of their success/failure) we witnessed a quiet revolution that fundamentally changed tech for the next two decades.
Simply speaking; infrastructure became democratized, affordable and flat-out easier to implement. When I started my career it was not uncommon to walk into a typical mid-size company and witness racks of expensive proprietary hardware stashed away within the “IT room”. These were the days of Novell and Windows NT 4.0 ruling the enterprise desktop and neither had much in the way of serious technology focused on what we now define as web applications (note: Microsoft IIS in that era was a fledgling feature). Brands like Sun Microsystems, Silicon Graphics, Alpha and HP defined high-performance and were the default solutions when you wanted to launch your company’s web presence or build otherwise mission critical infrastructure.
Then something changed… a little group called RedHat started packaging a Linux distribution that was rapidly gaining adoption on (gasp) basic x86 hardware. Almost instantly we’d moved from purchasing $20,000+ (USD) Sun Microsystem machines and SGI rack-mount servers to building our own systems on commodity Pentium Pro, Pentium II and the then newly launched Intel Xeon processors.
Instead of paying for expensive UNIX variants we were now using an obscure alternative called Linux… for free nonetheless. In terms of enterprise computing this was heresy as $$$$$$ equaled credibility in the eyes of many executives at that time. That notion slowly changed as we proved that commodity hardware was not only less expensive but it was more flexible and eventually became much more capable than the proprietary UNIX systems we’d been purchasing.
I believe that while the world is buzzing about cryptocurrency and blockchain developments the real news is the subset of technologies riding that wave developing infrastructure solutions. These infrastructure plays are not unlike the great change from proprietary hardware and operating systems to open platforms that are drastically more affordable, flexible and scalable.
I unabashedly love Amazon Web Services (AWS) many of my contemporaries have similar feelings for Microsoft Azure, Heroku or Google’s suite of various infrastructure offerings. These service have ushered in the last decade of unbridled innovation and accessibility. However I’ve got a hunch that these platforms may well be the Sun, SGI and DEC of next generation.
Despite their flexibility, ease of use and relatively low pricing compared to the days of purchasing one’s own servers they have their issues. All of the aforementioned platforms become pricey at scale and in one way or another lock you in to some proprietary technology.
Today we have a blockchain but that still leaves us reliant on a quasi-proprietary AWS/Heroku/Azure infrastructures… ideally this would change too.
Enter, 0chain. About a month ago one of the wonderful people in our Telegram channel introduced me to Atif Yaqub one of the co-founders at 0chain. I’ll openly admit that until this conversation I’d been so focused on our token sale that I had been somewhat neglecting news on other blockchain projects and I’d missed 0chain entirely.
What Atif proceeded to describe to me was an infrastructure play so significant that I believe it could be a similar shakeup to infrastructure in the vein of the shift from UNIX to Linux systems. 0chain proposes to democratize and decentralize the infrastructure resources we pay for on platforms like AWS. In short, lots of redundancy that is fast and VERY inexpensive compared to the commercial offerings available today.
Before Guardium/Guardian Circle I created ShoutEngine, a podcast hosting platform that distributes many thousands of shows and hundreds of millions of downloads per month. As we scaled we had no option to but to leave AWS as it simply became cost prohibitive at large scale in addition to a myriad of issues with S3 when moving huge volumes of podcast downloads.
Simply put, that was a lesson hard-learned and we ultimately had to purchase our own infrastructure to colocate in a data center here in Los Angeles in order to control costs. This is an error I will not be making twice and 0chain looks as though it may make that goal possible for Guardium and Guardian Circle. With 0chain we have the option to move some of the more expensive aspects within our AWS architecture to their open blockchain solutions which should provide significant cost savings and additional peace-of-mind with high levels of redundancy.
As of a few weeks ago we signed a partnership agreement with 0Chain to collaborate and explore how to further develop Guardium/Guardian Circle alongside their team. The 0chain storage infrastructure is of particular interest to our team as well as the massive redundancy provided by their compute architecture. It also doesn’t hurt that 0chain is also partnered with the NEO council in dApp scalability. It’s nice to keep these things “in the family” as Guardium is a NEO/NEP-5 token.
This is where I circle back to my early days in the industry where we moved from expensive proprietary platforms to open systems that paved the way forward for the internet we know today.
Given 0chain’s ambitious goals I believe that 0chain could be among the players that eventually supplant services like AWS/Heroku/Azure and make them the Sun/SGI/DEC of tomorrow.
While I love my AWS solutions right now (like I did my Sun servers years ago) 0chain may mark the beginning of a new paradigm in distributed infrastructure.