Trust is a wonderful thing, and is the basis for almost every business and personal relationship or transaction. In some cases, trust is built up over an extended period of time, reinforced with each successful transaction and seen as an integral part of the relationship. In other situations, there’s no time to accumulate trust and other mechanisms must be used instead. The parties must find a way to successfully complete the transaction in the absence of trust. Today, emerging blockchain technologies such as Hyperledger Fabric and Ethereum fill this important need, allowing parties to come to consensus regarding the validity of a proposed transaction and create an unalterable digital record (commonly known as a ledger) of each transaction in the absence of trust.
Amazon Managed Blockchain
We announced Amazon Managed Blockchain at AWS re:Invent 2018 and invited you to sign up for a preview. I am happy to announce that the preview is complete and that Amazon Managed Blockchain is now available for production use in the US East (N. Virginia) Region. You can use it to create scalable blockchain networks that use the Hyperledger Fabric open source framework, with Ethereum in the works. As you will see in a minute, you can create your network in minutes. Once created, you can easily manage and maintain your blockchain network. You can manage certificates, invite new members, and scale out peer node capacity in order to process transactions more quickly.
The blockchain networks that you create with Amazon Managed Blockchain can span multiple AWS accounts so that a group of members can execute transactions and share data without a central authority. New members can easily launch and configure peer nodes that process transaction requests and store a copy of the ledger.
Using Amazon Managed Blockchain
I can create my own scalable blockchain network from the AWS Management Console, AWS Command Line Interface (CLI) (
aws managedblockchain create-network), or API (
CreateNetwork). To get started, I open the Amazon Managed Blockchain Console and click Create a network:
I need to choose the edition (Starter or Standard) for my network. The Starter Edition is designed for test networks and small production networks, with a maximum of 5 members per network and 2 peer nodes per member. The Standard Edition is designed for scalable production use, with up to 14 members per network and 3 peer nodes per member (check out the Amazon Managed Blockchain Pricing to learn more about both editions). I also enter a name and a description for my network:
Then I establish the voting policy for my network, and click Next to move ahead (read Work with Proposals to learn more about creating and voting on proposals):
Now, I need to create the first member of my network. Each member is a distinct identity within the network, and is visible within the network. I also set up a user name and password for my certificate authority, and click Next:
I review my choices, and click Create network and member:
My network enters the Creating status, and I take a quick break to walk my dog! When I return, my network is Available:
Now that my network is available, I can invite members by clicking the Members tab:
I can see the current members of my network, both those I own and those owned by others. I click on Propose invitation to invite a new member:
Then I enter the AWS account number of the proposed member and click Create:
This creates a proposal (visible to me and to the other members of the network). I click on the ID to proceed:
I review the proposal, select my identity (block-wizard), and then click Yes to vote:
After enough Yes votes have been received to pass the threshold that I specified when I created the network, the invitation will be extended to the new member, and will be visible in the Invitations section:
If you are building a blockchain network for testing purposes and don’t have access to multiple AWS accounts, you can even invite your own account. After you do this (and vote to let yourself in), you will end up with multiple members in the same account.
Using the Network
Now that the network is running, and has some members, the next step is to create an endpoint in the Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) where I will run my blockchain applications (this feature is powered by AWS PrivateLink). Starting from the detail page for my network, I click Create VPC endpoint:
I choose the desired VPC and the subnets within it, pick a security group, and click Create:
My applications can use the VPC endpoint to communicate with my blockchain network:
The next step is to build applications that make use of the blockchain. To learn how to do this, read Build and deploy an application for Hyperledger Fabric on Amazon Managed Blockchain. You can also read Get Started Creating a Hyperledger Fabric Blockchain Network Using Amazon Managed Blockchain.
Things to Know
As usual, we have a healthy roadmap for this new service. Stay tuned to learn more!
PS – Check out the AWS Blockchain Pub to see a novel use for Amazon Managed Blockchain and AWS DeepLens.