Blockchain-as-a-Service: Should we or should we not?

With the emergence of Web3, more industries are moving to Blockchain for faster and trusted operations. Like it has disrupted the finance industries, from Bitcoin worldwide to reimbursements in China, the technology is being taken up by industries ranging from logistics to healthcare to governmental organizations.

But the setting up of a Blockchain service isn’t exactly easy. There are numerous technologies like cryptography and hashing that go into it. While public, permissioned and private blockchain platforms like Ethereum and Linux Hyperledger have made things easier, there still are issues that need to be addressed and fixed, like setting up a node and data-storage infrastructure. Blockchain-as-a-service platforms eliminate this gap by being a third party which provides these services and make smart contract integration easier.

Why go for Blockchain-as-a-Service?

The Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) partner assumes the responsibility of maintaining all the critical Blockchain-related artifacts like nodes and keeping the infrastructure up and running. BaaS contracts also include support activities such as bandwidth management, optimization of resources, incident management, system health monitoring, as well as proactive security surveillance such as prevention of hacking attempts.

The main benefit for using a node service is not having to spend engineering time maintaining and managing nodes yourself. This allows you to focus on building your product rather than having to worry about infrastructure maintenance.

Running your own nodes can be very expensive from storage to bandwidth to valuable engineering time. Things like spinning up more nodes when scaling, upgrading nodes to the latest versions, and ensuring state consistency, can distract from building and spending resources on your desired web3 product.

BaaS model ensures cost-effectiveness as you do not have to invest in maintenance, upgrades, or replacements for systems and software.

Blockchain as a Service provider could also introduce a comprehensively robust infrastructure capable of scaling up and down according to customer demands.

Most important of all, users would not experience any type of difficulties in operating BaaS solutions. Even without any comprehensive knowledge in system administration, users could make the most of BaaS solutions.

If expanding your enterprise or Consortium, you also have the option to add a node within minutes. BaaS provides you an interface from where you can add nodes with just a few clicks and minimum knowledge of core blockchain concepts.

Also, there is barely any time wasted in syncing the nodes in BaaS. If setting up our own node, it may take months to sync it from scratch.

What to look out for when choosing a BaaS Platform?

1. Pricing: First and foremost is always the pricing. There are BaaS that charge you on per node per hour basis (like Kaleido) or on a pay as you go pricing model (getBlock) in which the customer only pays for the units of service used. Choose the service based on how much traffic your app may face and how scalable it should be in the future.

2. Cloud infrastructure base: BaaS offer a wide variety of cloud platforms to choose from. Other than AWS and Google Cloud, there are options to host data on your own cloud too. Choose one according to the level of security for your data.

3. Elastic nodes: BaaS provides faster node upgradability. Just pay for the size of node size that you are using and expand it later, for increasing latency and scaling

4. Developer Support: There are various kinds of Blockchain programs like Smart Contract, ChainCode etc. It is crucial you have someone to guide you at the development stage.

5. Post-deployment support: Opt for a service that offers 24*7 customer support irrespective of your region

6. Previous experience and reviews: Very important. We do not want to take a gamble with a newbie in the industry

7. IPFS node hosting: A plus since most apps are based on document verification. BaaS like Kaleido also provides option of IPFS node hosting, eliminating you of the burden.

8. IAM (Identity Access Management) Platforms: Select a BaaS platform that offers IAM framework integration so that data is exposed to only those who should access it.

9. Different Runtimes and Frameworks : What if you want to switch to another blockchain platform while building a blockchain app on BaaS architecture? When it comes to blockchain frameworks, you might not find many blockchain-as-a-service providers that offer versatility. Some BaaS providers only support one kind of enterprise blockchain deployment. Choose a BaaS that supports a diverse range of runtime and frameworks. It will help bring flexibility to your enterprise requirements.

10. Identity-based Consensus Mechanisms: You must have heard about the typical consensus mechanisms such as Proof of Stake or Proof of Work. However, Proof of Stake and Proof of Work don’t offer enough scalability that the enterprise-grade solution needs. Therefore, select the blockchain-as-a-service providers working on a consensus mechanism that does not depend on the computation. Identity-centric consensus models can scale up the network and allow the enterprises to integrate the technology quickly. So, you can also prefer selecting a BaaS platform with an identity-based consensus algorithm that enables enterprises to operate with authorized identities.

11. NFT APIs: Web3.js, ether.js does not give you all the functionalities to manage NFTs. Hosting services like Moralis, Quicknode etc are famous for their NFT APIs which make querying faster.

12. Analytics: In some BaaS, request metrics are collected. These include number of requests, a breakdown of method calls, and server response data, CPU, memory, and storage usage data.

Taking the help of a BaaS provider makes blockchain product development just like any other product development. Hosting your smart contract on a blockchain through BaaS has also proven to be very cost-effective.

 

Credits:
https://www.infoq.com/articles/blockchain-as-a-service-get-block
https://medium.com/hackernoon/what-is-blockchain-as-a-service-28667754d6dc
https://www.leewayhertz.com/guide-to-blockchain-as-a-service