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Goodbye, datacenter — blockchain microservices for ECM and EIM

27.6.2018 / Falk Borgmann, Strategy Consultant, Deepshore GmbH

How blockchain technologies are revolutionizing the architectures of archiving systems.

In our blog entry “De-wormed — a green light for cloud storage in archiving solutions”, we took a close look at how storage components are being set free in the enterprise content management (ECM) and enterprise information management (EIM) spaces. In one fell swoop, placing all storage in a compliance cloud reduces costs by up to 80 percent, eliminates vendor lock-in, and transforms migrations and scaling from a major project to a simple push of a button.

Does that mean it’s time to sit back and relax? No way. Because above the storage layer, ECM and EIM systems are still characterized by proprietary technologies, costly hardware investments, complex infrastructures, and high operating costs. Of course, there are always exceptions. Sometimes the archiving platform has already switched to big data technologies and NoSQL — in this case, companies already have a system architecture that goes beyond conventional data infrastructures.

This conventional combination of archiving platform, archive storage, and interface system however represents a purely on-premise infrastructure — with all the advantages and disadvantages that entails. And if you look at investment costs, maintenance, flexibility, and scalability, we’re mostly talking about disadvantages. In other words, the best-case scenario is outstanding infrastructure. In most cases, you’re dealing with a complex challenge. And in the worst case, it can be a train wreck.

We decided to take our idea of blockchain-based cloud storage one step further. The immediate questions that presented themselves were, is it possible and does it make sense to also liberate the rest of the archive functionality from the hardware it’s bound to and virtualize it? Can these features be implemented in the cloud and organized with distributed structures?

Let’s start with the question of technical feasibility. The answer here is a clear yes.

Deep Shore

Archive system with classic infrastructure

Deep Shore

Archive system in microservices architecture

Deep Shore

Archive system in microservices architecture

Deep Shore

Archive system in microservices architecture

Deep Shore

Archive system in microservices architecture

Deep Shore

Archive system in microservices architecture

Deep Shore

Archive system in microservices architecture

Descending from the realm of theory into real-world applications offers no path around converting all archive functionality into microservices. The core functionality of an archive including access, indexing, data verification, and storage can be completely migrated to microservices. And with analytics as an additional microservice, we can achieve another quantum leap. Instead of the conventional archiving concept, we now have a real-time-capable enterprise information catalogue. It contains all enterprise information, all transactions, and all documents inside a compliant application layer. And it does so while enabling access from anywhere in the world, with full regulatory compliance and security. And of course with unlimited scalability of bandwidth and data volume.

At this point, we can issue a second unequivocal yes — this makes a lot of sense.

Because we’re not talking about eliminating proprietary approaches and technologies from the company simply to reduce costs. This is about how to climb the walls of the legally mandated walled garden of dead money and escape to the land of added value.

The microservices-based Deepshore blockchain archive is more than a conventional archive could ever be. It’s also more than the “data lake” concept we’ve seen bandied about in the IT world in recent years. This is the data foundation of the future — because it supplies ERP systems and data warehouses with all the business knowledge in the organization — in real time. And it just happens to enable seamless compliance, too.

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