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Benefits and Applications of Blockchain in Cloud Computing

  • Difficulty Level : Hard
  • Last Updated : 22 Sep, 2021
Geek Week

The various features of Blockchain like decentralization, transparency and security have made it a very important and revolutionary technology for the present generation of several industrial usages. One of those fields is the Cloud of Things which is created by the interlinking of cloud computing and the Internet of Things. In this technology, blockchain proves to be a very crucial solution that can remove the challenges of Cloud of Things through decentralization, provides data privacy, as well as network security, and Cloud of Things contributes its features by elasticity and scalability functionalities for enhancing the overall efficiency of blockchain operations. so, the integration of blockchain and Cloud of Things becomes very useful, this technology is called BCoT, now this technology is being considered as a very promising field for a large number of industrial applications.

Introduction of Blockchain

A blockchain is a continuously growing linked list-like the structure of records, it contains blocks, which are linked with each other with help of links, and the storage process in blocks is done with help of cryptography. Every block of the blockchain contains a cryptographic hash of its previous block, a timestamp when the block was added to the blockchain, and stored data related to transactions. Because of the fact that each block contains the link to its previous block, and has information about it so the previous block can’t be removed or changed. Therefore, blockchains can refrain from modification of any data in any of the blocks as after the data is recorded, the data of any block cannot be modified without making changes in all the blocks that are ahead of it.

Introduction of Cloud of Things

Both technologies Internet of Things (IoT) and Cloud computing are making a great change in the field of information technology and communication. IoT has brought a great change in living standards along with several new industrial, consumer, and commercial service-related applications, which is making our life much easier and comfortable. IoT is a system of interconnected physical objects that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies that are used for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the Internet.  This system can be used to sense data from surroundings, store these data, process the data, get useful information, and take actions based on the received information e.g., smart cities, smart industries, etc.  Because of the limited resources of IoT devices, such as storage capacity, IOT always delegates IoT application tasks to Cloud computing, which brings the concept of the Cloud of Things (CoT) paradigm. The CoT gives a flexible, robust cloud computing environment for processing and managing IoT services, which has great potential to improve the efficiency and performance of the system.

Motivation For Integration of Blockchain and CoT

The conventional CoT infrastructures face challenges of ineffectiveness because of the following reasons:

  1. A major challenge that conventional CoT faces are that it mainly relies on centralized communication models, e.g., central cloud, this makes the service operation hard to scale when IoT networks need to expand to a large extent
  2. The second major challenge that CoT faces is that most current CoT systems have to trust any third party, e.g., a cloud provider, for IoT data processing, which increases data privacy risks.
  3. The third major challenge is that the centralized network infrastructure gives rise to higher communication latency and require higher power consumption for IoT devices because of large data transmission, which creates problem in large-scale deployments of CoT in practical scenarios.

Keeping in view the challenges being faced by CoT and features of Blockchain, it seems promising to integrate the features of blockchain with CoT to overcome the challenges of CoT. 

Scope of Using Blockchain Technology in Cloud Computing

The major areas where blockchain has the potential to provide improvements in comparison to existing cloud solutions are:

  1. The blockchain system due to its unique features can be very beneficial in the field of functionality or performance enhancement. Being a decentralized system, blockchain can provide great help in establishing architecture where several computers can work at the same time for one task like storage or processing of data which can reduce the overall time of the operation and enhance the speed of processing and uploading data.
  2. Also, there is an aspect of improvements in security in cloud computing. Cloud computing generally deals with a large amount of data, so there is always a risk of data insecurity as cloud computing works on a centralized architecture, because of this there is a possibility of the central server being hacked by hackers and in that case, the whole system will collapse and also there will be no backup of data so lost data can’t be recovered. So there is the scope of using blockchain in cloud computing for solving these issues.

Benefits of Blockchain in  Cloud Computing

1. Decentralization: In IoT and cloud computing commuting a major problem is a dependency on a centralized server for the purpose of managing data and for taking decisions. Problems arise like a failure of the central server may disturb the whole system and also may cause loss of important data which was stored on a central server. Also, the central server is prone to be attacked by hackers. The blockchain can provide a solution to this problem as in the decentralized system multiple copies of the same data are stored on multiple computer nodes which removes the possibility of failure of the complete system if one server fails. Also, the loss of data can’t be a problem as multiple copies of the data are present on multiple nodes.    

2. Increased Data Security: Storage of data on the cloud in the field of IoT is a big challenge as IOT stored data is generally related to personal information of the house owner like their video footage, their voice recordings, their household items, their property, their personal habits, and leak of these data can harm the personal security including robbery, attacks, and illegal selling of the personal details for money. These conditions pose a threat to the cloud infrastructure. The solution to this problem is the use of blockchain in cloud computing, which has the potential of providing enhanced security to the whole architecture.  

3. More Efficient Ownership Tracking of Goods and Services: A major challenge of the logistics industry is to regularly keep track of all vehicles in its network, their current locations, time for which a vehicle stayed at a place, to establish communication between several vehicles. In the same manner tracking services like parcels, software products also face problems due to the centralized approach of their architecture. Blockchain has enough potential for tracking these goos and services.

3. Fault Tolerance: Cloud can help replicate blockchain data across a network of computing servers that are interconnected with each other robustly by collaborative clouds. This will minimize the single-failure risks because of the disruption of any cloud node so they enable uninterrupted services. 

4. Scalability: On largescale blockchain applications, the number of transactions in blockchain networks can be huge. So, it is very important to have powerful data processing services to have high transaction execution for enabling scalable blockchain services. In this field, the cloud can give on-demand computing resources for blockchain operations. due to its scalability capabilities. So, the combination of cloud computing and blockchain can provide a highly scalable integrated system. 

Applications of Integration of Blockchain and CoT

1. Smartening Healthcare Sector: BCoT has a great potential for applications in the Healthcare sector in modernizing and smartening current infrastructure and procedures. The Healthcare sector comprises medical institutions and organizations. The sector majorly deals with healthcare-related services, medical equipment, and instruments like ventilators, medical insurance, etc. 

  • In the sector, BCoT can provide solutions to critical issues with respect to security and service efficiency.
  • With the help of BCoT integration to healthcare, it can give new smart services like CoT enabled Health data sharing, which can create efficient healthcare data sharing environments, lowering the time needed for sharing communication from patient’s devices to doctors and amongst the connected devices.
  • For Example, the EHRs are to be processed and stored online on cloud storage and the doctors can access the medical information of patients using their mobile devices (e.g., smartphones) for monitoring health.

Blockchain can also be proved to be very important in solving security problems in process of sharing health data with the use of decentralized data verification of all peer nodes and with the help of message validation using a consensus process.

2. Blockchain-Based Smart Home Automation: Smart home automation is one of the most relevant fields where BCoT can be utilized. A home can become a smart home, by automating the devices of the home, give comfort to the persons residing there. 

  • A smart home can be thought of as a network of IoT devices that are modified and adjusted according to the use of people consisting of sensors and detectors, that gathers information from its surroundings, store it on the cloud and then process the information and perform a specific task base on the processed information.
  • For example, a fire detection system consists of a temperature sensing sensor that detects if there is any fire in the home, after sensing this and processing the data if a fire is detected a message will be sent to the homeowner and it will automatically start the installed water sprinkler or will run fire alarm in the home.
  • In smart homes, automation blockchain can be used to enhance security by removing the risk of data loss or security of data privacy. blockchain can be used to make a  decentralized data integrity architecture which can be useful for guaranteeing the security and stability of the whole system without any  third-party  requirement

3. Blockchain-Enabled Smart Transportation: In today’s modern era, the transportation sector has a lot of possibilities for improvement. In recent years with the help of fast-improving sensors, computing technologies, communication systems a high growth of transportation systems is being visible, which has a significant impact on the lives of people like travel time, safety on roads, less time requirement for transportation of goods.  

Smart transportation can be thought of as an IOT application that is related to integrated architectures of communication technologies and vehicular services in transportation systems. But it faces some issues as security risks emerged out of dynamic vehicle-to-vehicle communication in vehicular environments and over-dependence on centralized network authorities. In this case, Blockchain can be used to help to build a secured, trusted, and decentralized ITS ecosystem.

4. Smart Manufacturing: Smart manufacturing is an emerging field where BCoT can give its contribution. Smart manufacturing is related to deploying automated machines which can perform specific tasks in a much intelligent way than today. 

  • This field is based on cloud manufacturing, IoT-enabled technologies, and service-oriented manufacturing.
  • But in the current scenario smart manufacturing faces problems like centralized industrial networks and third part-based authority.
  • The centralized manufacturing architectures lead to lower flexibility, efficiency, and security.
  • A possible solution to these problems Is the deployment of BCoT, which has the ability to enhance security and to implement the decentralized architecture.

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