The world as we know it is increasingly being digitized to cope with the explosive demand for processing power and other computing resources. Notably, this quiet but evident technological evolution took center stage following the global outbreak of the Covid-19 virus and the resulting explosion of remote work.
Due to the need to comply with social distancing measures and still preserve productivity, companies and individuals have begun playing around with cloud computing services and solutions. The end result is an interconnected and digitized economy where participants can collaborate freely without being limited by constraints associated with traditional computing.
However, the growing dependency on cloud-based infrastructure does not diminish its obvious frailties. One of such drawbacks is the fragile security template that traditional cloud computing services provide. Since they are centralized, the tenacity of such products rests on the capability of service providers to evolve in tandem with security realities. In a survey carried out by PWC, 66% of technology executives ranked security as their biggest challenge.
Then there is also the high-cost model of such products as a result of the concentration of the cloud computing market shares in a handful of service providers including Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Alibaba. Also, these drawbacks and the apparent lack of options have directly contributed to data and service censorship.
Unsurprisingly, the increased adoption of cloud-based computing infrastructure has spurred the development of viable solutions that do away with existing flaws. One thing that seems to be common among the solutions introduced as alternatives to traditional cloud computing services is their decision to adopt a decentralized or peer-to-peer model. Such solutions rely on nodal blockchain-based networks of cloud service providers that autonomously share and collectively secure the cloud computing infrastructure. In essence, the security is cryptographically modified and censorship-resistant.
However, although this new array of cloud computing solutions share the same fundamental ideology, their systemic approaches are seemingly different. Bearing this in mind, I went on to explore the unique attributes of blockchain-based cloud computing solutions and how they come together to improve the experience of the end-user. In the end, I was able to handpick the most promising solutions in this emerging market. Below is a table showing a ranked list of the top decentralized cloud computing solutions and why each platform deserves its place on the list.
Overview And Notable Observations
Looking at the table above you will notice that the top 3 ranked solutions have set out to enable infrastructures that capture some of the core requirements for running a standard cloud computing network. The first requirement is decentralization. As discussed earlier, decentralization eliminates issues including data security, censorship, and cost inefficiencies
Another factor that I have decided to focus on is interoperability. If cloud computing is the deliverable, then the user ought to have access to the tools necessary to deploy their work on multiple platforms or share data and resources seamlessly. This, in turn, promotes a collaborative ecosystem unlike the siloed nature of traditional cloud computing space. Other factors include scalability and reward mechanisms.
Note that scalability remains a major talking point in the blockchain industry, especially when it comes to legacy networks. Although the likes of Ethereum seem to be rolling out long-term plans to scale their ecosystem, decentralized cloud computing services must independently set up innovative means of fast-tracking the implementation of robust blockchain architectures that can rival the speed and flexibility of traditional cloud computing solutions. This is the only way decentralized cloud computing services can appeal to mainstream internet users.
After exploring these main factors and basing my rankings on them, Cudos, Ankr, and Akash Network emerged as the top 3 blockchain-based cloud computing solutions today. Cudos is ranked highest because it has enabled an interoperable blockchain network designed to provide computing power for building dapps and deploying smart contracts and non-fungible tokens.
Ankr came in second because its cloud computing infrastructure currently supports over 40 blockchains protocols. Third on the list is Akash Network. The solution focuses on creating secure, private, interoperable, and scalable cloud computing power for DeFi platforms.
Top 3 Decentralized Cloud Computing Solutions
Cudos took a massive gamble when it decided to implement an innovative architecture that borders on interoperability and security. The platform combines the Byzantine Fault Tolerant Proof of Staking (DPoS) algorithm and Tendermint core to achieve consensus. This hybrid system allows the platform to do away with the scalability problems associated with legacy blockchains while still retaining a high level of decentralization and security. This advanced model is further complemented by the incorporation of Cosmos SDK and the subsequent implementation of the network within the Cosmos Hub zone widely applauded for its interoperable ecosystem.
Even though the development decisions of the Cudos team allow the platform to interact with other blockchains within the Cosmos ecosystem, the team is planning to deliver cloud computing power beyond the Cosmos Hub Zone. This will be done with the help of specially designed bridges and other cross-chain implementations. With this, users can deploy Ethereum smart contracts without having to worry about scalability, high gas fees, low transaction speed, or lack of coding flexibility.
Ankr boasts of a robust ecosystem that delivers cloud computing resources required to connect to web3 and access blockchain node hosting services. As mentioned earlier, this solution currently provides developing and staking resources for over 40 blockchain protocols. Some of the supported platforms include Cosmos, Polkadot, Bitcoin, Compound, and Elrond. The goal is to deliver instant API connections to blockchain networks and DeFi protocols by channeling idle computing resources from geographically distributed data centers and devices.
On the enterprise side of the solution, Ankr offers the infrastructure for enterprise-staking, data analytics, and dapps development. With this, clients can seamlessly integrate staking, trading, or yield farming services on their platforms.
Akash claims to be developing a Supercloud where anyone with a computer can become a cloud services provider. Like Cudos, Akash utilizes Tendermint and Cosmos SDK to boost scalability and deliver inherent interoperability capabilities. There is an added advantage of lower transaction costs and compatibility with all cloud-based applications. With these features, Akash can deliver dynamic cloud computing services with multi-chain, multi-cloud and multi-token functionalities.
What this means is that Akash integrates with a wide array of established blockchains and cloud computing services. Moreover, the development team is currently designing and developing a portable supercomputer, called Supermini. This hardware will provide a seamless connection to the Akash network such that users can become a node on the network instantly.
While researching the decentralized cloud computing market, I noticed that decentralized cloud computing is strongly considered the next step in the ongoing internet evolution. If this is the case, expect the solutions listed above to claim a large chunk of the cloud computing market in the coming years. Until then, the decentralized cloud computing space would continue to finetune their services to boost their mainstream appeal.