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Down its azure blockchain service

Please migrate ledger data from Azure Blockchain Service to an alternative offering based on your development status in production or evaluation.”

One such alternative offering recommended by Microsoft is the Quorum Blockchain Service from ConsenSys, with which it teamed up some six years ago to introduce Ethereum blockchain-as-a-service on Azure. ConsenSys just three days ago posted a blog post that included the following, but didn’t mention that the Microsoft service is officially ending:

ConsenSys is working with Microsoft to offer an Ethereum-based managed blockchain service to their Azure customers. Both companies are working together to offer a service based on ConsenSys Quorum, an open-source protocol layer for developing with Ethereum.

Microsoft is shutting down its azure blockchain service

Microsoft is shutting down its Azure Blockchain Service on September 10, 2021. Existing deployments will be supported until that date, but as of May 10 this year, no new deployments or member creation is being supported.

Microsoft’s initial foray into Azure Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) began in 2015 with an offering on the Etherum Platform with ConsenSys. In late January 2016, Microsoft made available a preview of a lab environment in Azure’s DevTest Labs so that Blockchain-related services and partners can decouple the Blockchain technology from virtual machines.
Microsoft’s short-term goal for the Azure BaaS was to make available a certified blockchain marketplace.

Software giant Microsoft said this week that it will close down its long-running blockchain-as-a-service offering in September.

“On September 10, 2021, Azure Blockchain will be retired. Please migrate ledger data from Azure Blockchain Service to an alternative offering based on your development status in production or evaluation.,” reads a blog post published May 10.

Yet Azure customers will have new options on the blockchain front in the form of ConsenSy’s Quorum offering. ConsenSys announced the same day that it was working with Microsoft to bring Quorum, which it acquired from JPMorgan last year, to the Azure customer base.

“Both companies are working together to offer a service based on ConsenSys Quorum, an open-source protocol layer for developing with Ethereum,” ConsenSys said in its announcement.

Down its azure blockchain serviced

Instead, a spokesperson said “We are asking (Azure Blockchain Service) customers to transition to the ConsenSys Quorum Blockchain Solution. As industry dynamics have changed, we made the decision to shift our focus from a product-oriented offering to a partner-oriented solution.”

Update (May 25). And here’s the direct reply on positioning of ACL, courtesy of a spokesperson:

“Azure Confidential Ledger doesn’t replace Azure Blockchain Service but is another distributed ledger that can be used by customers who want the maximum level of privacy afforded to them.
With Azure Confidential Ledger, customers can take advantage of Azure’s Confidential Computing to harness the power of secure enclaves when setting up the distributed blockchain network.

Down its azure blockchain services

Microsoft has announced the imminent death of its Azure Blockchain service.

A support document dated May 10 delivered the news as follows:

On September 10, 2021, Azure Blockchain will be retired. Please migrate ledger data from Azure Blockchain Service to an alternative offering based on your development status in production or evaluation.

The document offers no explanation for Microsoft’s decision.

But it does offer some hints and tips for what to do next (after you finish cursing the beast of Redmond for pulling the rug out from under your cloud-hosted blockchain on four months’ notice.)

However, that advice is likely to get you cursing again because it opens:

The first step when planning a migration is to evaluate alternative offerings.

Down its azure blockchain serviceid

Evaluate the following alternatives based on your development status of being in production or evaluation.

Whaaaat? Buyers should survey the market for the products they need? Thanks, Microsoft. We wouldn’t have figured that out without your wise counsel.

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Microsoft’s document eventually recommends the Quorum Blockchain Service from ConsenSys as a very fine replacement because it uses the GoQuorum Ledger technology that Azure’s Blockchain uses too. Unsurprisingly, Quorum is also right at home in Azure.

Just weeks after announcing plans to shut down its Azure Blockchain as a Service offering, Microsoft is back with another Blockchain-powered take on the idea with its Azure Confidential Ledger service. Microsoft officials took the wraps off the public preview of Azure Confidential Ledger on the first day of its virtual Build 2021 developer conference on May 25.

Azure Confidential Ledger, like the Azure Blockchain Service, builds on the idea that blockchain is a distributed ledger. Microsoft’s Azure Confidential Ledger (ACL) adds an extra layer of security and scalability on top of blockchain.

ACL uses the Azure Confidential Computing Platform, meaning an instance of ACL runs in a dedicated and fully attested hardware-backed enclave.

ACL is built on top of the Confidential Consortium Framework (CCF), which Microsoft officials showed off publicly in 2017.

Microsoft is ending its Azure Blockchain Service in September, advising users to migrate to other offerings.

The company gave no reason for ending Azure Blockchain Service, which according to its web site is still in preview. The site’s description of the service reads: “Build, govern, and expand blockchain networks at scale. Azure Blockchain Service Preview simplifies the formation, management, and governance of consortium blockchain networks so you can focus on business logic and app development.”

Blockchain is a cryptographic list of records — the blocks — often used in implementations of cryptocurrency offerings like Bitcoin, along with other distributed ledger applications.

Notice of the move to abandon the service came only in documentation, which now includes this note under a “Migration guide” section: “On September 10, 2021, Azure Blockchain will be retired.

Morgan, Singapore Airlines, Starbucks and Xbox as customers.

Microsoft’s documentation suggests users start migrating to an alternative now. The recommended migration destination is ConsenSys Quorum Blockchain Service. Users also could opt to self-manage their blockhains using VMs.

I asked Microsoft for official word as to why the company decided to shut down Azure Blockchain.
No response so far.

Update (May 21 — better late than never): “We are asking customers to transition to the ConsenSys Quorum Blockchain Solution. Microsoft has a rich history of working with partners with the shared goals of innovating and delivering solutions to our customers.

At that time, officials said the Coco (short for “confidential consortium”) Framework was meant to work with any ledger protocol and work on any operating system and hypervisor that supports a compatible Trusted Execution Environment (TEE), or secure area of a processor. The Framework was designed to be used on-premises and/or in various vendors’ clouds, officials said.

Microsoft officials said ACL works well when users need audit logging and tracking of highly sensitive admin operations. They suggested that healthcare, financial and retail, information technology, supply chain monitoring and any business where contracts and deeds need to be exchanged securely would all be good candidates for ACL.

I asked Microsoft if ACL should be considered the replacement for Azure Blockchain as a Service and got no direct reply.

In the interim, the focus was to add blockchain partners of all kinds, rather than trying to pick a limited number of potential winners, officials said.

Also:Bitcoin and 11 more cryptocurrencies you need to know

Blockchain is the technology that underpins the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. But many tech vendors and users felt it had far more uses beyond that. A blockchain is a shared ledger that can store the complete transaction history of not just cryptocurrency but other kinds of records.

As such, it attracted initial interest among some enterprises, especially those in banking and finance.

Microsoft ended up fielding a preview of Azure BaaS, but lately had not done much to update the service. However, Microsoft’s product page for Azure BaaS lists GE, J.P.

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