Tech giant Amazon has announced a new service for companies that need a super secure database.
Amazon QLDB (Quantum Ledger Database) is a high-performance database that offers customers an immutable and cryptographically verifiable ledger.
Specifically, the ledger interfaces with applications where multiple parties work with a centralized, trusted authority to maintain a complete, verifiable record of transactions.
The service lends itself to a number of use cases. It could be used, for example, by a centralized cryptocurrency exchange that needs maximum security for critical data that includes an immutable history of transactions. Amazon QLDB can be tasked to keep track of credit and debit transactions across customer bank accounts and also reconcile data between supply chain systems to track the complete manufacturing history of a product.
By taking the ideas of blockchain and turning them into a service, AWS aims to offer companies a superior private and permissioned database – the same database Amazon uses to store data for some of its most critical systems.
The company says that Amazon QLDB is built to scale and that, unlike typical blockchain frameworks, it does not require distributed consensus, so it can execute “two to three times as many transactions in the same time as common blockchain frameworks.”
According to the announcement,
“All changes are cryptographically chained and verifiable in a history that customers can analyze using familiar SQL queries.”
“Customers looking to implement blockchain technologies are typically trying to accomplish one of two things. Some customers want the immutable and verifiable record of transactions provided by a ledger, however they also want to allow multiple parties to transact, execute contracts, and share data anonymously, without the need for a trusted central authority (e.g. transferring reward points across a network of vendors, or processing transactions that concern a number of different trade and logistics companies).
Today, Amazon Web Services offers customers Amazon Managed Blockchain for this use case. There are other customers who have applications that need a centralized ledger to record all changes or transactions and maintain an immutable record of these changes (e.g. tracing the movement of an item through a supply chain network, tracking the history of credits and debits in banking transactions, or validating incidents filed against an insurance claim). This ledger is owned by a single trusted entity and is shared with any number of organizations that are working together.
To do this today, customers can use relational databases, or they can use the ledger technology in one of the open source blockchain frameworks. Neither solution is optimal. Relational databases aren’t built for immutable, cryptographically verifiable ledger entries, so customers must build audit trails and audit logs.
And, there is no way for customers to verify that unintended changes were not made to the data. Using the ledger in a blockchain framework may give customers an immutable history of data changes, but comes at the cost of the heavy lifting to set up a full blockchain network with at least two nodes and all of the associated access control configuration.
Because there are limited database Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) within the blockchain frameworks it is also challenging to create tables, index, and query data. Finally, blockchain frameworks are decentralized and require consensus from members in the network before committing new transactions to the shared ledger, which significantly slows ledger performance.”
The new service is initially rolling out in Ohio, Virginia, Oregon, Tokyo and Ireland, with additional regions coming soon.