Microsoft announced its Azure Blockchain Service in a press release on 2nd May. The new blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) platform will purportedly allow users to build blockchain applications on preconfigured network.
Scott Guthrie, executive vice president, Microsoft Cloud and AI Group said: “It’s an incredible time to be a developer. From building AI and mixed reality into apps to leveraging blockchain for solving commercial business problems, developers’ skillsets and impact are growing rapidly. Today we’re delivering innovative Azure services for developers to build the next generation of apps. With 95% of Fortune 500 customers running on Azure, these innovations can have far-reaching impact.”
Frank Shaw, Microsoft’s head of corporate communications, commented on the service saying, “it simplifies the formation, management, and governance of consortium blockchain networks.” He also pointed out that it can create a new consortium network “in a few simple clicks,” or let the user perform basic operations like adding new members to the network.
Quorum, the open source blockchain platform backed by JP Morgand Chase is to be one of the first to use Azure. Azure CTO Mark Russinovich explained why Quorum was chosen: “Because it’s built on the popular Ethereum protocol, which has the world’s largest blockchain developer community, Quorum is a natural choice.”
He added, “It integrates with a rich set of open-source tools while also supporting confidential transactions — something our enterprise customers require. Quorum customers like Starbucks, Louis Vuitton, and our own Xbox Finance team can now use Azure Blockchain Service to quickly expand their networks with lower costs, shifting their focus from infrastructure management to application development and business logic.”
In March 2018, Microsoft launched its blockchain app creation service called Azure Blockchain Workbench. This was designed to automate aspects of blockchain-related work, such as streamlining blockchain app development by providing readily available infrastructure for the developer.