June 8, 2021 6 minutes to read
This story originally appeared on ValueWalk
The world as we know it is increasingly digitized to meet the explosive demand for computing power and other computing resources. What’s noteworthy is that this calm but obvious technological advancement took center stage following the global Covid-19 virus outbreak and the resulting explosion in remote work.
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Because of the need to adhere to social distancing measures while still maintaining productivity, businesses and individuals have started to play around with cloud computing services and solutions. The end result is a connected and digitized economy in which participants can freely collaborate without being constrained by limitations related to traditional computer technology.
However, the growing reliance on cloud-based infrastructures does not mitigate their obvious weaknesses. One of these drawbacks is the fragile security template that traditional cloud computing services provide. Since they are centralized, the persistence of such products relies on the ability of service providers to evolve in accordance with security realities. In a survey conducted by PWC, 66% of technology executives named security their biggest challenge.
In addition, there is the cost-intensive model of such products due to the concentration of cloud computing market shares on a handful of service providers such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Alibaba. These drawbacks and the apparent lack of options have also contributed directly to data and service censorship.
Unsurprisingly, the increasing adoption of cloud-based computing infrastructure has spurred the development of viable solutions that address existing shortcomings. One thing that seems to be common among the solutions that have been introduced as alternatives to traditional cloud computing services is the choice of a decentralized or peer-to-peer model. Such solutions are based on node blockchain-based networks of cloud service providers that autonomously share and jointly secure the cloud computing infrastructure. Essentially, the security is cryptographically modified and censorship-resistant.
However, while this new line of cloud computing solutions share the same basic ideology, their systemic approaches appear to be different. With that in mind, I explored the unique characteristics of blockchain-based cloud computing solutions and how they come together to enhance the end-user experience. In the end, I was able to handpick the most promising solutions in this emerging market. Below is a table that lists the best decentralized cloud computing solutions and why each platform deserves its place on the list.
If you look at the table above, you will find that the top 3 solutions are designed to enable infrastructures that meet some of the core requirements for running a standard cloud computing network. The first requirement is decentralization. As mentioned earlier, decentralization eliminates issues like data security, censorship, and cost inefficiencies
Another factor that I focused on is interoperability. If cloud computing is the goal, users should have access to the tools they need to deliver their work across multiple platforms or to seamlessly share data and resources. This in turn fosters a collaborative ecosystem that differs from the isolated nature of the traditional cloud computing realm. Other factors are scalability and reward mechanisms.
Note that scalability is still a major talking point in the blockchain industry, especially when it comes to legacy networks. Although Ethereum appears to have long-term plans to scale its ecosystem, decentralized cloud computing services must independently establish innovative means of rapidly tracking the implementation of robust blockchain architectures that can keep up with the speed and flexibility of traditional cloud computing solutions. This is the only way for decentralized cloud computing services to address mainstream internet users.
After examining these key factors and based my ranking on them, Cudos, Ankr and Akash Network emerged as the top 3 blockchain-based cloud computing solutions today. Cudos is ranked highest because it enabled an interoperable blockchain network designed to provide computing power for building dapps and deploying smart contracts and non-fungible tokens.
Ankr took second place as its cloud computing infrastructure currently supports over 40 blockchain protocols. Third on the list is Akash Network. The solution is focused on creating secure, private, interoperable and scalable cloud computing power for DeFi platforms.
Cudos took a huge risk when it decided to implement an innovative architecture that borders on interoperability and security. The platform combines the Byzantine fault tolerant Proof of Staking (DPoS) algorithm and the Tendermint core to achieve consensus. This hybrid system enables the platform to eliminate the scalability problems associated with legacy blockchains while maintaining a high level of decentralization and security. This advanced model is further complemented by the integration of the Cosmos SDK and the subsequent implementation of the network within the Cosmos Hub zone, widely acclaimed for its interoperable ecosystem.
Although the Cudos team’s development decisions allow the platform to interact with other blockchains within the Cosmos ecosystem, the team plans to deliver cloud computing power beyond the Cosmos Hub Zone. This is done with the help of specially developed bridges and other cross-chain implementations. This allows users to deploy Ethereum smart contracts without having to worry about scalability, high gas fees, low transaction speeds or a lack of coding flexibility.
Ankr has a robust ecosystem that provides cloud computing resources necessary to connect to Web3 and access blockchain node hosting services. As mentioned earlier, this solution currently offers development and staking resources for over 40 blockchain protocols. Supported platforms include Cosmos, Polkadot, Bitcoin, Compound, and Elrond. The goal is to provide instant API connections to blockchain networks and DeFi protocols by channeling unused computing resources from geographically dispersed data centers and devices.
On the enterprise side of the solution, Ankr provides the infrastructure for enterprise staking, data analysis and Dapps development. This enables customers to seamlessly integrate staking, trading or yield farming services into their platforms.
Akash claims to be developing a supercloud in which anyone with a computer can become a cloud service provider. Like Cudos, Akash uses Tendermint and Cosmos SDK to increase scalability and provide inherent interoperability capabilities. Added to this are the lower transaction costs and compatibility with all cloud-based applications. With these functions, Akash can provide dynamic cloud computing services with multi-chain, multi-cloud and multi-token functionalities.
This means that Akash integrates with a wide range of established blockchains and cloud computing services. In addition, the development team is currently designing and developing a portable supercomputer called the Supermini. This hardware provides a seamless connection to the Akash network, so users can instantly become a node on the network.
During my research into the decentralized cloud computing market, I noticed that decentralized cloud computing is strongly viewed as the next step in the ongoing Internet evolution. If so, it can be assumed that the solutions listed above will consume a large portion of the cloud computing market in the years to come. Until then, the decentralized cloud computing sector would continue to refine its services in order to make them more attractive to the mainstream.