You’ve probably heard of blockchains by now – the relatively new technology underpinning a whole host of cryptocurrencies and distributed apps.  Blockchains promise exciting solution opportunities across a range of markets, from IoT and machine-to-machine communication, to healthcare, identity management, supply chain, and more.

But, have you come to grips with how blockchains work? How you use them? What they can do? How you code apps on them?

Well, now’s your chance to start!

This week on DevNet Sandbox, we released a Blockchain Sandbox to give you your very own private blockchain, based on the Linux Foundation’s HyperLedger Fabric.

Intended as a foundation for developing applications or solutions with a modular architecture, Hyperledger Fabric allows components, such as consensus and membership services, to be plug-and-play.

HyperLedger Fabric leverages container technology to host smart contracts called “chaincode” that comprise the application logic of the system.

As part of the Sandbox, we provide you with an Ubuntu VM that has four docker containers containing the peers of the blockchain, split across two separate organisations. Each one of these peers is capable of hosting your chaincode that can be used to execute code on Fabric that support any app or logic that you wish!

Blockchain Sandbox: Topology

Of course, feel free to re-configure the peers and organisations as you wish, along with build more channels to communicate on (hit the Hyperledger Fabric link earlier to learn more about these concepts or fire directly over to here).

We also provide you with a short example of how to transact on the blockchain and move some value across peers taking part in the chain, to get you started, should you need.

There’s also the CLI that you can use should you wish to explore this method of interaction further.

Note that we’re using LevelDB as the data store on our deployment of HyperLedger Fabric. It’s a light-weight, single-purpose library for persistence with bindings to many platforms, including Fabric.

As always, let us know what you think of the Sandbox and provide us any feedback through the Sandbox forums. Cisco are a premier member of the HyperLedger effort, so we’d love to know what you think!

Here’s a video from a live presentation that Vallard Benincosa and I made introducing blockchain and decentralized apps at a recently Cisco Live event.  Enjoy!



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Tom Davies

Manager, DevNet Sandbox

Developer Experience