This article was originally published on LinkedIn Sept 15th, 2021.
While adoption (or repulsion) of Bitcoin continues, the underlying blockchain technology is being utilized to build Web 3.0 infrastructure. In a blockchain and open source world, there is no single point of control or ownership. Solutions can be built on a distributed network of nodes (computers that support a given network) that validate and relay transactions; each node maintains a copy of the distributed ledger (i.e. blockchain). If you are up to speed on blockchain’s value proposition of being immutable and permissionless, pairing it with open source code creates some interesting opportunities for a decentralized cloud vendor. Enter: Akash Network.
Beyond Bitcoin: Blockchain has a number of IT applications, including cloud
Akash: 1 part network, 1 part platform
In her Medium article, digital marketer and blockchain enthusiast Gisele Schout provides a succinct explanation of how/where Akash fits into the cloud ecosystem:
“It consists of two main components: the network and the platform. The Akash Network is an on-chain decentralized marketplace for leasing computing resources. While the Akash Platform is an off-chain deployment platform used for hosting and managing workloads and is a set of cloud management services that leverage Kubernetes to run workloads.”
Akash advantage includes minimal overhead and underutilized datacenters
Per the company’s website, Akash competes with traditional cloud vendors by harnessing underutilized capacity across 8.4 million data centers. The rate of utilization is only 15%, leaving a whopping 85% available for Akash to leverage on-demand (think of Akash as the AirBnB of cloud). As a result, Akash claims that it delivers savings of 30-70% versus traditional enterprise cloud vendors. In addition to standard cloud benefits, the company touts being “censorship-resistant, permissionless, and self-sovereign.”
Amazon, Microsoft and Google capture significant marketshare, but there’s plenty for others
Decentralization of IT services/solutions creates opportunities for new types of vendors, like Akash, to participate and compete. It’s akin to David vs. Goliath, whereby legacy IT juggernauts simply do not see who/what is coming. A decentralized vendor is able to be everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Gartner forecasts 23% cloud growth in 2021, with the market reaching $332 billion. The three dominant vendors are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP), accounting for roughly 60% of the global market per Canalys.
In a post-pandemic era, decentralized solutions like Akash will receive stronger consideration
In an increasingly complex and fragmented IT vendor landscape, decisions are typically made by committee. Switching from a known entity to an unknown vendor that is utilizing a relatively nascent platform is certainly not to be taken lightly, especially in the digital economy. A CTO may understand the nuances of blockchain, but they may not “like” it for various reasons. Similarly, a CIO may not fully appreciate the merits of blockchain or decentralized IT solutions. New concepts and ideas are not always welcome as most people do not tend to like change and/or avoid risk. Sometimes change is an option, sometimes it is forced.
In this vein, perspectives on decentralized workforces have evolved as a result of Covid-19. Organizations were forced to rethink remote work. In some ways, companies have become more efficient. From a financial standpoint, the cost savings are very real when you consider things such as physical office space and corporate travel. If you’re already a blockchain pundit and understand the value proposition of decentralized finance (DeFi), then the idea of working with a decentralized cloud provider (DeCloud) may not be too much of a stretch.
For those that balk at not having “one throat to choke,” a blockchain-based solution is likely just cosmonaut talk. However, if a CEO and CFO are pressed for hard dollar savings in order to drive profits or fund innovation, naysayers may ultimately consider evaluating a DeCloud solution, like Akash. Since going live in 2Q21, the company has deployed over 20,000 businesses on its network. If you compare this with the millions upon millions of deployments by AWS, Azure and Google- Akash is barely a blip on the radar. In reality, the up and comer is more likely to compete with the 40% of vendors clustered in the “Others” category than the aforementioned cloud titans.
Web 3.0 infrastructure will include blockchain tools that compliment or compete with traditional IT frameworks
As history has taught us, being small and nimble has its advantages. As Web 3.0 construction continues, look for more blockchain-based tools to compliment and/or compete with legacy IT offerings. Whether you view blockchain as a formidable tool or an unecessary distraction, it will continue to make its immutable mark in the cloud and other industries.
Seth Ulinski is a market research analyst, digital advertising specialist and blockchain enthusiast.