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Microsoft Adds Support for Additional Blockchain Protocols in Azure

| by Kent Weare Follow 10 Followers on Jun 04, 2017. Estimated reading time: 2 minutes |

In advance of the Coindesk Consensus 2017 conference, Microsoft announced additional blockchain protocol support in Azure. These new investments include support for more complex blockchain and distributed ledger network deployments, including HyperLedger Fabric, R3 Corda, Quorum, Chain Core and BlockApps.

Microsoft previously focused on simpler topologies, such as dev/test environments inside Azure and are now adding support for more complex topologies. Christine Avanessians, a senior program manager at Microsoft, explains why Microsoft is expanding their offering:

Initially, we targeted dev/test topologies, partnering with organizations such as R3, Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, Chain, and BlockApps, to deliver development and demo machines for a variety of protocols. We received ample positive feedback and expanded support to more complex topologies as customers began work on more advanced scenarios.

Moving forward, Microsoft is categorizing their deployments into three topologies:

  1. Dev/Test to allow developers to quickly get started with blockchain application development. This configuration typically consists of a single node, or virtual machine, running inside of Azure. Some of the deployments that Microsoft already supports in this topology include: BlockApps, Corda, Quorum, Syscoin, Chain, and Parity (Ethereum).
  2. Single Member topologies allow organizations to test and simulate production workloads for multiple divisions, or business units, within a single organization.  This configuration may include multiple nodes in many geographical regions.
  3. Multi-Member topologies allow for multiple organizations to test and simulate production workloads. These workloads are typically configured across multiple regions, Azure subscriptions and Azure Active Directory tenants.

As of this announcement, Microsoft has plans for rolling out single member topologies for:

HyperLedger Fabric This solution deploys a multi-node HyperLedger Fabric network. The network consists of a node that runs the membership service, a node that runs the ordering service, and multiple Fabric peer nodes.

R3 Corda: This solution deploys a multi-node Corda network. The network consists of a single node running the network map, a node running the notary service, and multiple member nodes.

Quorum: This solution deploys a multi-node Quorum network. The network consists of a block maker node, and multiple voters and observers.

Chain: This solution deploys a multi-node and multi-region Chain Core network. The network consists of a single block generator node, and multiple signers and participants.

BlockApps: This solution deploys a multi-node BlockApps Strato network. The network consists of a single block maker node, and multiple validators and participants.

Microsoft provides the Azure Marketplace where customers can deploy first and third party services in a variety of pricing models including free, pay as you go and bring your own license (BYOL). Blockchain solutions are also included in the marketplace as a way for customers to accelerate their deployments. Avanessians explains:

As with our many other blockchain releases, we focus on reducing the time you spend building out and configuring the infrastructure for blockchain networks to allow you to focus on building out your blockchain pilots.

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