Microsoft launches fully-managed Azure Blockchain Service for enterprises

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Microsoft has launched a new, fully-managed blockchain offering called Azure Blockchain Service, with an aim to simplify the formation, management, and governance of consortium blockchain networks. It will work as a foundation for blockchain apps in the cloud and help enterprises to focus on workflow logic and app development.

The tech giant hasn’t rushed to bring the distributed ledger technology to Azure. It picked up the pace over the period of time, starting with the blockchain development kit, and then the Azure Blockchain Workbench.

And now, the Azure Blockchain Service. It is an enterprise service which will allow users to create and deploy a permissioned blockchain network and manage consortium policies using an interface in the Azure portal.

It comes with built-in governance so that developers can perform actions like adding new members, setting permissions, monitoring network health and activity, and executing governed, private interactions via integrations with Azure Active Directory.

Microsoft has also joined hands with J.P. Morgan to accelerate the adoption of enterprise blockchain. As part of the partnership, J.P. Morgan’s distributed ledger platform called Quorum will be available through Azure Blockchain Service. It will allow the customers of both the companies to build and scale blockchain networks in the cloud.

“We are incredibly proud of the success Quorum has had over the last four years, as organizations around the world use Quorum to solve complex business and societal problems via blockchain solutions,” said Umar Farooq, global head of Blockchain, J.P. Morgan.

“We are delighted to partner alongside Microsoft as we continue to strengthen Quorum and expand capabilities and services on the platform. Azure will bring unique strengths to enterprise clients using Quorum.”

Azure Blockchain Service is only one part of the announcement, though. The company has also released an extension for Visual Studio Code. The aim of this extension is to enable users to create and compile Ethereum smart contracts, deploy them to either the public chain or a consortium network in Azure Blockchain Service. They can then manage their code using Azure DevOps.

Also read: TCS to develop scalable blockchain platforms using Azure Blockchain and R3 Corda

“We’re excited to offer customers an enterprise-grade Ethereum stack with Quorum, and look forward to adding new capabilities to Azure Blockchain Service in the coming months, including digital token management, improved application integration, and support for R3’s Corda Enterprise,” wrote Mark Russinovich, Chief Technology Officer, Microsoft Azure, in a blog post.

The new service is now available in public preview.

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