Today, ahead of its Build developer conference, Microsoft is finally taking a step forward to bring blockchain technology to its Azure cloud computing platform by launching Azure Blockchain Services, a fully managed service that allows for the formation, management and governance of consortium blockchain networks. This is an enterprise service that is meant to help businesses build applications on top of blockchain technology and is integrated with Azure Active Directory which offers tools for adding new members, setting permissions and monitoring network health and activity.
Microsoft said, “With a few simple clicks, users can create and deploy a permissioned blockchain network and manage consortium policies using an intuitive interface in the Azure Portal.”
Microsoft will be promoting JPMorgan Chase’s Quorum blockchain to the global tech giant’s business customers.
“Microsoft’s Azure will power the platform, named Quorum, which will allow enterprises to build new blockchain applications in as little as a few weeks without needing as much expertise”, said Umar Farooq, JPMorgan’s head of blockchain initiatives.
“Because it’s built on the popular Ethereum protocol, which has the world’s largest blockchain developer community, Quorum is a natural choice,” Azure CTO Mark Russinovich writes in today’s announcement. “It integrates with a rich set of open-source tools while also supporting confidential transactions—something our enterprise customers require.” To launch this integration, Microsoft has partnered with J.P. Morgan.
Through the Microsoft Azure partnership, technology teams will now get access to tools to write and test blockchain code. The managed service is only one part of this package, though. Microsoft today also launched an extension to Visual Studio Code to help developers create smart contracts. The extension allows Visual Studio Code users to create and compiled Etherium smart contracts and deploy them other on the public chain or on a consortium network in Azure Blockchain Service. The code is then managed by Azure DevOps. By easing the process for companies, the bank expects more use of blockchain. Without the Azure cloud, blockchain projects require a higher degree of involvement from IT teams and many blockchain experts.