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DISA eyes mainframe-based blockchain

The Defense Information Systems Agency is looking for help on developing a blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) offering on Z system mainframes for its mission partners.

For more than a year, DISA has been eyeing a secure, agile and scalable BaaS solution mission partners could run on infrastructure inside accredited Defense Department environments, Sherri Sokol, innovation leader at DISA, told GCN in February 2019. “It would really just be the platform, infrastructure resource management and monitoring, which are services that DISA already offers,” she said.

The mainframe platform “takes advantage of the enterprise mainframe computing power and expertise DISA already offers and incorporates emerging technologies and approaches,” according to the June 2020 DISA Look Book.

BaaS could improve business processes across Defense Department networks by cutting down on the manual work of tracking data and assets across silos, improving accuracy and making information quickly available as a strategic asset.

BaaS would allow information to be selectively “shared among participants, enabling everyone to gain insights, accelerate informed decision-making, reduce the friction and cost in data exchanges and add new network members and data processes/workflows with relative ease,” the Look Book said. “Additionally, when blockchain is combined with other emerging technologies (e.g., artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotic process automation and internet of things), it can become a force multiplier.”

In a Nov. 4 request for information, DISA said it wants to find out what currently available products it could use in a solution stack to provide a scalable permissioned BaaS offering.

The permissioned BaaS capability must be able to limit membership and visibility for any given blockchain network and the information shared between members on those networks, DISA said.

Besides deployment on a Linux s390x architecture, the system must support FIPS 140-2 Level 4-compliant encrypted sessions and role-based access controls, containerization and deployment in an air-gapped environment.

Responses are due Nov. 10.

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