Red Hat patents use of blockchain to track cloud use

Customers could be more accurately billed for their cloud consumption

Red Hat is reportedly considering using blockchain to track customer use of its cloud service in real time.

A patent filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office explains how the company would track transactions on its platforms to bill customers based on their usage. Because records in a blockchain can't be changed, the data could be more accurate than using other methods.

"The examples record, in a blockchain, a billing rules transaction that identifies usage rules for one or more software instance types for a timeframe. Authorised transactions that identify software instances that have been authorised to execute during the timeframe are also recorded in the blockchain," the filing explained.

Not only would this mean Red Hat would be able to track how its customers are using its products and bill the accordingly (perhaps meaning they have a lower bill), it would also reduce the cost of extra monitoring infrastructure.

"Among other advantages, the examples can be used to determine and/or validate license fees that may be owed to a provider of the software instances," the filing said. "The examples can also be used to dynamically determine whether to authorise an activation request transaction that requests authorization to execute a software instance, based on a current total usage of software instances at the time of the request."

Essentially, it means Red Hat customers wouldn't need to invest in additional monitoring software, because as a completely transparent tool with anyone able to access the data at any time, they could track their consumption via Red Hat's blockchain instead of their own - or third party - tools.

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