Is shutting down azure blockchain

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.

Microsoft is shutting down its azure blockchain service

Joseph Lubin, ConsenSys founder and CEO Lubin welcomed the Azure refugees:

“Expanding our relationship with Microsoft helps organizations take advantage of ConsenSys Quorum and Quorum customer support to offer users an enterprise-grade managed blockchain service that can be effortlessly set-up and deployed.”

This imminent closure was given more public attention through a Twitter post on May 12 by the Azure architect Tom Kerhove.

Looks like Azure Blockchain Service is no longer a thing

Kudos to @TechMike2kX for finding out.

— Tom Kerkhove ☁️ (@TomKerkhove) May 12, 2021

Notably, Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain is six years old. It was developed from a sandbox-style service in 2015 on Ethereum partnering with ConsenSys.

Azure Blockchain Service to ConsenSys’ Quorum Blockchain Service, which is a managed offering on Azure that supports GoQuorum Ledger technology.

“Expanding our relationship with Microsoft helps organizations take advantage of ConsenSys Quorum and Quorum customer support to offer users an enterprise-grade managed blockchain service that can be effortlessly set-up and deployed,” said Joseph Lubin, CEO and founder of ConsenSys.

“We are excited to bring the awarding-winning Quorum product to Azure users as the next step in our collaboration with Microsoft.”

Alternatively, users can opt to self-manage their blockchains using virtual machines (VMs).

How To Migrate To An Alternative:

  • To migrate a production workload, first export your data from Azure Blockchain Service.

Microsoft has announced that its Azure Blockchain Service is to close down this fall. The end date for the complete closure is September 10, but the company has already put a stop on new deployments and signups.

No big announcement has been made about the closure of the service which has been around since 2015 when Microsoft partnered with ConsenSys. The decision leaves existing users with just four months to find an alternative home for their ledgers.

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Microsoft has not given any reason for shutting down Azure Blockchain which will inevitably lead to speculation.

Azure Blockchain Service is Microsoft’s Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) offering that has been available in preview for quite some time. Essentially, it is a fully managed ledger service which allows organizations to manage their blockchain network in Azure, perform network deployments, and develop smart contracts. It currently supports Ethereum Quorum using Istanbul Byzantine Fault Tolerance (IBFT) as its underlying consensus mechanism.

Microsoft has now announced that it will be shutting down Azure Blockchain Service on September 10, 2021.

While no official reasoning has been given regarding why the service is being retired, Microsoft has recommended that customers immediately start looking for an alternative.

It has been suggested that the closure of Azure Blockchain Services could lead to the creation of a new blockchain service by Microsoft. This would probably be a more advanced version of the Azure Blockchain Service. But we cannot confidently say whether this will be the reality or not.

Nonetheless, the only certainty is that users would have to migrate from Azure blockchain service to an alternative.
In fact, the majority of the users migrated before the closure of the blockchain service in September 2021. With this development, they did not have to wait endlessly for Microsoft to make up its mind on whether it would like to continue with its blockchain service or not.

Regardless of what Microsoft decides to do in the future, everyone can rest assured that blockchain technology will continue to grow.

For solutions which are already in production or pilot phases, the primary suggestion is to migrate to ConsenSys’ Quorum Blockchain offering on Azure since that is also a managed service. Alternatively, customers can opt to utilize blockchain resource management templates on their own infrastructure using Azure VMs. Of course, the disadvantage of this approach is that you’ll have to manage the solution yourself after deployment.

For new blockchain deployments and planning, Microsoft has recommended the Quorum and Besu templates available in the Azure Marketplace.
The company has also highlighted migration and data export steps and strategy in its guidance here.

Existing Azure Blockchain Service deployments will be supported up until September 10, 2021, which is why customers should start evaluating alternatives immediately.

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.

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.

Microsoft has said that it is turning off its corporate Azure Blockchain Service on September 10. The company went on to say that it will not accept any new deployments starting immediately. But, Microsoft did not offer any official explanation for this decision.
This means that the existing customers have only four months to transition to new service providers.

Based on its official website, the large corporate clients who use Azure Blockchain include Singapore Airlines, JPMorgan, Xbox, GE Aviation, and Starbucks. The announcement came in a low-key post on the Microsoft documentation website on May 10. It informed all existing customers to shift to alternative services.

The only alternative suggestion was the ConsenSys Quorum Blockchain Service.

It was then offered as a fully managed Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) preview in late 2019.

Microsoft’s original aim for Azure was to develop a certified blockchain marketplace giving users the “ability to discover Blockchain technologies and value-added services.”

Despite insisting that no new deployments will be accepted on this service, Microsoft is yet to remove the Azure page that lets new users sign up for free. In recent months, Microsoft has been sending mixed messages about its stand towards blockchain and crypto. In that context, President Brad Smith said earlier this year that the multinational company was not interested in dabbling in Bitcoin.

But, in late March, the firm released an online poll that asked users how likely they would be to use BTC for purchases in the Xbox Games Store.

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