Amazon Web Services (AWS), an Amazon.com company, announced the general availability of Amazon Quantum Ledger Database (QLDB), a fully managed service that provides a high-performance, immutable, and cryptographically verifiable ledger for applications that need a central, trusted authority to provide a permanent and complete record of transactions across industries like retail, finance, manufacturing, insurance, and human resources.
Amazon QLDB offers familiar database capabilities that make it easy to use, and its document-oriented data model is flexible, enabling customers to store structured and unstructured data in the ledger. There are no upfront commitments to use Amazon QLDB, and customers pay for what they use.
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).
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.
Amazon QLDB is a new class of database that provides a high-performance, immutable, and cryptographically verifiable ledger that customers can use to build applications that act as a system of record, where multiple parties are transacting with a centralized, trusted entity.
Amazon QLDB removes the need to build complex audit functionality into a relational database or rely on the ledger capabilities of a blockchain framework. Amazon QLDB uses an immutable transactional log, known as a journal, which tracks each and every application data change and maintains a complete and verifiable history of changes over time.
All transactions must comply with atomicity, consistency isolation, and durability (ACID) to be logged in the journal, and cannot be deleted or modified. All changes are cryptographically chained and verifiable in a history that customers can analyze using familiar SQL queries.
Amazon QLDB is serverless, so customers don’t have to provision capacity or configure read and write limits. They simply create a ledger, define tables, and Amazon QLDB will automatically scale to support application demands, and customers pay only for the reads, writes, and storage they use.
And, unlike the ledgers in common blockchain frameworks, Amazon QLDB does not require distributed consensus, so it can execute two to three times as many transactions in the same time as common blockchain frameworks.
“For years, AWS has been using an internal version of Amazon QLDB to store configuration data for some of its most critical systems, and has benefitted from being able to view an immutable history of changes.
“Over time, our customers have asked us for the same ledger capability, and a way to verify that the integrity of their data is intact,” said Shawn Bice, VP, Databases, Amazon Web Services, Inc.
“Today, we are proud to announce Amazon QLDB, offering customers a fully managed service that provides the same ledger capabilities, along with the ability to cryptographically verify data integrity.
“We are excited to see customers streamline their operations and enhance their customer and partner experiences by using Amazon QLDB to do things like keep track of credit and debit transactions across customer bank accounts and reconcile data between supply chain systems to track the complete manufacturing history of a product.”
Amazon QLDB is available today in US East (Ohio), US East (N. Virginia), US West (Oregon), Asia Pacific (Tokyo), and EU (Ireland), with additional regions coming soon.
Splunk Inc. helps organizations ask questions, get answers, take actions, and achieve business outcomes from their data. “Data is a strategic asset that organizations rely upon to operate and succeed,” said Nate McKervey, head of Blockchain and DLT, Splunk.
“It is that organizations can trust their data as it is dispersed across teams and the cloud, but not every use case requires a decentralized ledger. We are excited about the potential for Amazon QLDB to provide a way to trust and verify the integrity of data without the complexity of operating a blockchain network.”
Klarna Bank is one of Europe’s largest banks, providing payment solutions to 60 million consumers across 130,000 merchants in 14 countries.
“We’re building our own banking platform from the ground up. We need this platform to be scalable, compliance-friendly, cost-effective, and have real-time capabilities,” said Ziad Sawalha, VP Engineering of Core Banking, Klarna Bank.
“To support this platform, we needed a cryptographically-verifiable and immutable transaction log at the core. We experimented with blockchain earlier this year and realized that a decentralized ledger did not really meet our needs as it was too complicated to operate and not sufficiently performant.
“With the release of Amazon QLDB we can leverage the AWS’s investment in a centralized ledger database to solve that problem, allowing us to focus our engineers on other, customer-centric aspects of the platform.”
Bank of Yokohama, a member of Concordia Financial Group, is the largest regional bank in Japan. “While designing and building applications to support banking operations, we need to ensure that the general ledger is up-to-date with the record of a client’s attribution and deposit balances.
“In addition to that, we need to retain the logs of our general ledger, including all of its transaction activity and modification history,” said Takahisa Kawahara, Group Leader, ICT Planning & Promotion Department, Bank of Yokohama.
“Amazon QLDB allows us to automatically save the modification history and verify the consistency of the log. The solution reduces human error while keeping the development cost low. We look forward to leveraging Amazon QLDB for core banking operations.”
Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is a central government agency responsible for the registration and licensing of over 48 million drivers in Great Britain, and over 40 million vehicles in the UK.
“The registers we maintain are critical to a wide range of public and private sector services, so trust in how we handle data is vital,” said Matt Lewis, Chief Architect, DVLA. “Amazon QLDB has the potential to bring significant benefits to the way we process information, and we’re excited to be exploring how this emerging technology further supports our services.”
Zilliant’s SaaS solutions are powered by advanced technologies in order to enable B2B companies to transform data into actionable intelligence, ranging from price list management to advanced AI-driven pricing, and sales guidance.
“Zilliant’s products allow customers to manage their product price lists and customer agreements with their clients,” said Shams Chauthani, CTO and SVP R&D, Zilliant.
“Given the sensitive nature of the information being managed by these products, it is critical to maintain verifiable audit logs of the changes to prices and agreement terms. In some cases, due to compliance requirements, these audit logs must be immutable.
“We are excited to be exploring Amazon QLDB as a way to seamlessly capture cryptographically verifiable audit logs that can stand up to the strict compliance requirements of our customers.”
Wipro Limited is a leading information technology and consulting services company with a dedicated workforce of over 180,000 employees, serving clients across six continents.
“We are excited to be working with Amazon QLDB to extend our offerings and solutions to address the current and future needs of our customers,” said Joshua Satten, Blockchain Partner North America, Wipro.
“We believe that Amazon QLDB will be particularly useful in helping us and our customers record their application data in an immutable and verifiable way while still architecting their applications around a centralized system that is easy to use.”
Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology, and operations.
“Businesses in Asia are rapidly adopting blockchain technologies, yet many customers ask Accenture how to handle the complexity of blockchain, and make it simpler and more practical for them,” said Daniel Gunawan, Managing Director, Intelligent Software Engineering Services, Accenture ASEAN.
“Amazon QLDB answers that need by combining the data integrity of blockchain with the speed and simplicity of a centrally owned datastore. Amazon QLDB tracks every application data change and maintains a complete and verifiable history of transactions over time, combining scalability and ease of management.
“Accenture sees great potential for customers developing business innovations with Amazon QLDB.”