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Blockchain and Networking

On 2018-01-08 12:52 AM, William Herrin wrote:
> I'm having trouble envisioning a scenario where blockchain does that any
> better than plain old PKI.
> Blockchain is great at proving chain of custody, but when do you need to do
> that in computer networking?
> Regards,
> Bill Herrin

There's probably some potential in using a blockchain for things like 
configuration management.  You can authenticate who made what change and 
when (granted, we can kinda-sorta do this already with the various 
authentication and logging mechanisms, but the blockchain is an 
immutable, permanent record inherently required for the system to work 
at all).

That immutable, sequenced chain of events would let you do things like 
"make my test environment look like production did last Thursday at 9AM" 
trivially by reading the blockchain up until that timestamp, then 
running a fork of the chain for the new test environment to track its 
own changes during testing.

Or when you know you did something 2 months ago for client A, and you 
need your new NOC guy to now do it for client B -- the blockchain 
becomes the documentation of what was done.

We can build all of the above in other ways today, of course.  But 
there's certainly something to be said for a vendor-supported solution 
that is inherent in the platform and requires no additional 
infrastructure.  Whether or not that's worth the complexities of 
managing a blockchain on networking devices is, perhaps, a whole other 
discussion.   :)

- Peter