Microsoft calls time on Azure blockchain-as-a-service

13 May 2021

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Microsoft has recommended that users migrate their ledger data to Quorum as it goes all in on a partnership with ConsenSys.

A notice in the documentation for Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain Service announces that the service will be retired on 10 September 2021.

The support documentation from Microsoft guides users through the process of migrating their ledger data to an alternative service.

Existing deployments of the Azure Blockchain Service will continue to be supported until 10 September. However, as of 10 May, Microsoft ceased new deployments and member creation, according to ZDNet.

‘This collaboration with ConsenSys is designed to take the complexity out of managing the infrastructure necessary to run enterprise blockchains’

Microsoft launched its cloud-based blockchain-as-a-service platform in 2015. This service offered Azure cloud hosting for companies building and operating blockchain applications.

While blockchain is best known for its association with cryptocurrencies, it has applications beyond this field. Essentially, a blockchain is an electronic ledger that is protected by a complex mathematical algorithm that can verify ownership and transactions. This functionality has seen the technology piloted for alternative use cases in finance, law and other sectors.

Those using the Azure Blockchain Service to experiment and build in blockchain are now advised by Microsoft to migrate their ledgers to blockchain software provider ConsenSys.

The Quorum Blockchain Service from ConsenSys arose from its acquisition of JP Morgan’s open-source blockchain project in 2020. Quorum is an enterprise variant of the Ethereum blockchain, which underpins the cryptocurrency Ether.

Microsoft’s closure of Azure Blockchain Service coincides with a partnership with ConsenSys to offer an Ethereum-based managed blockchain service to Azure customers. The Big Tech company has long been engaged with ConsenSys in efforts to make the public Ethereum blockchain safe and secure for enterprise use.

“By working closely with ConsenSys, we will be able to provide our customers with an easy way to deploy and manage their blockchain pilots and production use cases running on Microsoft Azure,” said Microsoft Azure CTO Mark Russinovich.

“This collaboration is designed to take the complexity out of managing the infrastructure (hardware and software) that is necessary to run enterprise blockchains.”

Last month, ConsenSys closed a $65m funding round and said it would create around 50 new jobs at its Dublin office.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.