BLOCKCHAIN ON THE GOOGLE CLOUD PLATFORM


What services can be used to realize a blockchain solution on GCP?

When creating solutions, developers channel resources to focus on the distribution of work, agility, and security. Google Cloud Platform (GCP) ensures this is easily achievable via their offerings such as relational databases, data warehouses, virtual machine instances, Zero Trust security, etc. Blockchain, which has experienced exponential growth over the last decade, needs GCP services to cater to the resource overloads resulting from its growth. The seamless integration between blockchain and GCP has enabled the development and execution of both independent and blockchain/GCP hybrid solutions. What services on GCP can be used to realize this? We discuss them below. 

BigQuery can host public datasets for other cryptocurrencies and avail the variables that determine the evaluation of the blockchain’s smart contracts. BigQuery is GCP’s enterprise data warehouse for ingestion, storage, analysis, and visualization of data. It is fully managed by Google and can analyze up to petabytes of data. Blockchain uses immutable smart contracts to govern transactions within the platform, but there is no reference data to determine how these contracts are evaluated. This complex operation can then be delegated to BigQuery. Using ANSI compliant standard SQL dialect to analyze ingested data to provide these variables. When there is no ingested data, BigQuery will integrate with Chainlinks (oracle) to trigger the execution of these smart contracts. Consequently, blockchain developers can develop blockchain apps using a microservice architecture. A good example of how BigQuery can do this is determining gas prices to conduct transactions successfully on the Ethereum blockchain. 

The ideal candidate to develop blockchain apps at scale is App Engine since it is suitable for applications created using a microservice architecture. It is a Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) that allows developers to only deploy their code and let it handle the rest of the work. For blockchain solutions that will become successful, this PaaS will automatically create instances to support its growth. It is relatively cheap and highly scalable. A web service to retrieve blockchain data from BigQuery can be built using the App Engine Standard Environment. This retrieval can only be limited to parameterized queries (no arbitrary data requests) such as gas prices for specified block numbers.

Infrastructure to support blockchain solutions can be run on Compute Engine. It is an Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) that provides high-performance virtual machines running in Google’s data centers. General-purpose machines are recommended for blockchain apps, but there is an option to custom-build your virtual machine instance. Contrary to App Engine, if the application keeps growing, you will have to deploy more virtual machine instances to support it manually. It would be highly convenient to support high energy consumption blockchain processes such as the mining of cryptocurrencies. 

Cloud Spanner and Cloud SQL can form the database layer for blockchain apps storing large amounts of data and availing it when needed. Their cost-effectiveness and almost 100% availability make them ideal candidates to create solutions such as blockchain Explorers. Ethereum blockchain explorer has been built on Cloud Spanner. 

In addition to the data security protocols available in the GCP’s databases (BigQuery, Spanner, and SQL), Google Cloud Identity Aware Proxy (IAP) has the potential to fortify security on developed blockchain solutions using a Zero Trust model. Currently, there are talks of how this can be integrated into blockchain’s back-office apps. 

So, can Blockchain solutions be realized on GCP? Absolutely. GCP has an array of solutions such as Compute Engine, App Engine, Big Query, GCloud Spanner, GCloud SQL, Cloud Security, among others that can help you achieve this as explained above.

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