IBM, R3 join forces on blockchain services for enterprise


IBM (NYSE: IBM) and R3 are preparing to unveil expanded blockchain capabilities and services designed for enterprise clients.

Through a new open beta program, R3's enterprise blockchain platform Corda Enterprise, will be brought to IBM LinuxONE from 2 November, across the hybrid cloud delivered via IBM Cloud Hyper Protect Services.

The R3 on IBM LinuxONE beta program will initially be available on IBM Cloud and on-premises, with general availability expected in the first quarter of next year.

The development is intended to capitalise on the growing demand for blockchain-based solutions, which are gaining popularity in such regulated industries as finance and insurance due to their advanced security and data privacy features. IBM said LinuxONE would provide “a highly secured platform certified to meet the highest level of security certification commercially available”.

David E. Rutter, CEO of R3, commented: “Corda Enterprise and IBM LinuxONE bring together IBM's best security, efficiency and scalability features in blockchain and hybrid cloud. The result is assurance that customers can run their most sensitive workloads with transparency and flexibility.

“Blockchain is fast emerging as the technology of choice to drive digital transformation and R3 and IBM will provide access to the privacy and security inherent in blockchain technology underpinned by IBM LinuxONE. This combined with the deeply knowledgeable team within IBM Services' new R3 centre of excellence, can empower customers to level up their digital transformation drive.”

Addressing marketplace demand for performance, compliance and data privacy, IBM said LinuxONE and its Cloud Hyper Protect Services provide customers with “confidential computing capabilities”, including 'keep your own key' workload isolation encryption capabilities backed by FIPS 140-2 Level 42 certification, tamper protection from privileged user access, and encryption of all data at-rest and in-flight.

Ross Mauri, GM of IBM Z, said: “In keeping with IBM's efforts to bring choice to clients in the era of hybrid cloud, we support an open ecosystem of blockchain providers. Bringing R3 to IBM LinuxONE is another exciting example of leveraging our highly secured confidential computing capabilities to help our clients of all sizes, across any industry, protect their most sensitive data across the hybrid cloud.

“This announcement builds on the exciting work over the last several months to welcome new workloads to LinuxONE and IBM Cloud Hyper Protect Services in emerging areas like blockchain and digital asset custody – and we're looking forward to taking this next step with R3 to build on this momentum with clients of all sizes from early stage start-ups to the largest global enterprises,” Mauri continued.

IBM Services is also expanding its existing Corda capabilities by establishing a R3 centre of excellence to provide services to IBM clients that have or plan to adopt R3 solutions, including trained and Corda-certified solution architects, strategy and design consultants and subject matter experts.

“This centre of excellence is being designed to innovate and incubate client-requested ideas and use cases leveraging IBM's deep expertise in developing and standing up commercially available production grade blockchain networks,” said Jason Kelley, GM of IBM blockchain services.

“We will use IBM methods, including design thinking, to focus efforts on developing interoperability solutions for disparate blockchain networks, digital assets and currencies and industry-focused use cases,” Kelley added.