IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - May/June 2017 - 34
No matter why blockchain is
deployed, it tracks the lifecycle
of an asset whether it is a
car, a financial asset or a real
estate title, says Ian J. Mitchell,
z Systems software. Blockchain
offers transparent management
of that asset between
participants and requires
tracking the asset inside the
participants' existing SORs.
Blockchain transactions might
be initiated by a participant's SOR
because of an event in the asset's
lifecycle. After that change is
published via blockchain, other
participants can note the change
and reflect it in the SOR.
The replicated nature of
blockchain provides data resilience.
All parties will need to agree on
what will be managed before
creating the blockchain contract
and then create the actions
allowable under the contract.
"Uniquely with blockchain, all
the participants see and agree
on those allowable actions,"
Further, strong security credentials are required
for interacting with blockchain, which means
having a good registry of security credentials is
important, he notes.
The Role of APIs
When blockchain interacts with the SOR, it will be
interested only in the data pertaining to the asset, not
all of the data that exists in the database. Blockchain
uses APIs to identify the data it needs.
Blockchain data is posted in logically separate
systems, and APIs are used to interface with SOR,
Mitchell says. IBM is enabling Representational State
Transfer (REST) APIs to work with many of its existing
offerings such as z/OS* Connect. REST APIs identify
certain resources and use HTTP to access them.
Systems integration on blockchain with DB2 and CICS
are done with REST API.
A blockchain framework tool called Fabric
Composer, which was developed by IBM with the
open-source Hyperledger community, creates REST
APIs for the assets modeled and managed in the
blockchain. z/OS Connect can use those REST APIs
to tell the SOR to invoke actions in the blockchain.
"z/OS Connect makes the interaction between the
blockchain and the existing SOR as consistent as other
services, which react with the SOR," Mitchell explains.
REST APIs also will work from the blockchain to the
SOR. IBM is working on initiatives that incorporate the
bidirectional functionality of REST and APIs.
IBM offers many resources to learn about blockchain and how it works.
Here are a few of them:
IBM Blockchain: ibm.com/blockchain
IBM blockchain car sales demo video: youtu.be/IgNfoQQ5Reg
IBM Fabric Composer: fabric-composer.github.io
34 // MAY/JUNE 2017 ibmsystemsmag.com
It is also supporting SOR
integration initiatives to provide
APIs that can be invoked from
the SOR and that can be used by
blockchain to access the SOR.
"Bidirectional APIs are the best
way for SOR to be driven by other
services," he notes.
IBM launched IBM Blockchain for
Hyperledger Fabric V1.0, which
enables a host of data stores to
be used with blockchain. General
availability is slated for late
IBM Blockchain works with a
JSON data store like CouchDB, a
key value data store like LevelDB
and with relational databases
"Using IBM Blockchain, you
can run analytics directly off of
DB2 or CouchDB without having
to offload or export all of your
data," Dillenberger says. A DB2
table could be configured as
an Apache Spark resilient data
set so you could apply Spark
machine-learning models to both
the SOR and the blockchain tables.
With other blockchains, data must
be exported into the technology
before it can be used.
This analytics capability can be
very valuable. For instance, a car
can be tracked on the blockchain
from its manufacturer through
various owners to the end of its
life. A SOR DB2 table at a car
dealer may have such information
as who owned the car before the
current purchaser. The car dealer
may want to run analytics against