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Amazon Managed Blockchain now generally available

The decentralised blockchain service is limited to HyperLedger and those operating out of the US East (N. Virginia) availability zone.

After revealing it was going to be launching two blockchain services at its annual conference in November, Amazon Web Services (AWS) on Tuesday announced the general availability of Amazon Managed Blockchain, initially using HyperLedger.

Amazon Managed Blockchain is a fully managed service that the cloud giant touts as making it easy to create and manage scalable blockchain networks.  

As a decentralised ledger, AWS said Amazon Managed Blockchain will suit customers who want to allow multiple parties to execute transactions and maintain a cryptographically verifiable record of them, without a trusted, central authority.

The upside to the decentralised service is that customers can quickly setup a blockchain network spanning multiple AWS accounts through the AWS Management Console, select their preferred framework -- currently only HyperLedger is available, with Ethereum support coming later this year -- add network members, and configure the member nodes that process transaction requests.

In announcing the ledger services in November, CEO Andy Jassy said his company had spent a decent amount of time understanding why customers want blockchain rather than just a database, denying during his AWS re:Invent keynote that AWS was avoiding heading down the distributed ledger path.

"Even though we have a lot of customers that run blockchain on top of us ... we just hadn't seen that many blockchain examples that couldn't just be solved by a database," Jassy said.

"The culture inside AWS is that we don't just build things... we understand what problem you want to solve and we then solve it for you."

See also: Blockchain: An insider's guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The managed service was coupled by a centralised blockchain service, Amazon Quantum Ledger Database (QLDB), which is touted as being a fully-managed ledger database with a central trusted authority.

It was described by Jassy as being immutable, cryptographically verifiable, transparent, and fast -- allowing for the execution of double the amount of transactions as standard.

It is expected that data from the Amazon Managed Blockchain can also be moved into the Amazon QLDB for analysis.

"Customers want to use blockchain frameworks like Hyperledger Fabric and Ethereum to create blockchain networks so they can conduct business quickly, with an immutable record of transactions, but without the need for a centralised authority. However, they find these frameworks difficult to install, configure, and manage," Amazon Managed Blockchain GM Rahul Pathak added on Tuesday.

"Amazon Managed Blockchain takes care of provisioning nodes, setting up the network, managing certificates and security, and scaling the network. Customers can now get a functioning blockchain network set up quickly and easily, so they can focus on application development instead of keeping a blockchain network up and running."

AWS said AT&T, Nestlé, and Singapore Exchange Limited are among the companies using Amazon Managed Blockchain, with the company highlighting use cases spanning across the finance, logistics, retail, and energy sectors that require transactions to be performed quickly across multiple entities.

Amazon Managed Blockchain is available immediately in US East (N. Virginia) and will expand to additional regions in the coming year. QLDB is expected to be generally available in the coming months.

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