Microsoft Shuttering Azure Blockchain Services

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In Brief
  • Microsoft announced that its Azure Blockchain will be retired on Sept, 10, 2021.

  • The announcement urged users to migrate their data to an alternative.

  • Quorum Blockchain Service from ConsenSys is one migration recommendation.

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Microsoft announced that it will retire its Azure Blockchain on Sept. 10, 2021.

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As of May 10, no new deployments will be allowed, but existing deployments will be supported until September 10. The announcement urged users to migrate their data to an alternative service, based on the development status of their projects.

The blog post making the announcement gave no reason for Microsoft’s decision to shut the project down.

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Microsoft mulls Quorum

The post subsequently advised users to consider using the Quorum Blockchain Service from the Brooklyn-based Ethereum-focused blockchain company ConsenSys. ConsenSys acquired the Quorum Blockchain from JPMorgan in August 2020.

Microsoft listed a few reasons for recommending the Quorum Blockchain Service. According to the post, Quorum has no extra management overhead compared to its Azure Blockchain Service. Additionally, users would not have to learn anything new. This is because the Quorum Blockchain uses an enhanced version of the technology used in the Azure Blockchain.

Azure’s development

Microsoft initially offered Azure’s Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) in 2015, at which point it began its relationship with ConsenSys. In January 2016, Microsoft offered a preview of a lab environment in Azure’s DevTest Labs. This demonstrated that Blockchain-related services and partners could decouple the Blockchain technology from virtual machines. Microsoft’s plan for the Azure BaaS was to offer a certified blockchain marketplace. Since then, it’s focused more on adding blockchain partners, rather than trying to pick potential winners.

In May 2019, Microsoft announced details of new developments on its Azure cloud services. These focused on AI, mixed reality, blockchain, and the Internet-of-Things (IoT) for its hybrid cloud and edge computing. It was at this point that Azure had integrated Quorum as a ledger on the Azure Blockchain Service. At the time, it still belonged to JPMorgan. 

Microsoft had earlier claimed that 95% of Fortune 500 customers were running on Azure. Although it had stated that AI and blockchain were the two leading areas of interest going forward, those plans do not seem to have panned out.

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Nick is a data scientist who teaches economics and communication in Budapest, Hungary, where he received a BA in Political Science and Economics and an MSc in Business Analytics from CEU. He has been writing about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology since 2018, and is intrigued by its potential economic and political usage. He can best be described as an optimistic center-left skeptic.

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