This past June, Microsoft announced Project Bletchley, building blockchain capabilities that are accessible in Azure. The project went live in September, and this week Microsoft has added the blockchain project into Azure Marketplace. Now, you can not only create and deploy a “many-node consortium blockchain network” in Azure, you can do it from the Azure Portal via the Marketplace.
Blockchains, most well known as the backbone of Bitcoin, can be described, as Wikipedia does, as “a distributed database that maintains a continuously-growing list of records called blocks secured from tampering and revision.” The system creates a “chain” of transaction logs that can’t practically be altered, a system that is not only useful for Bitcoin but any number of financial or other types of serial transactions. You can learn more about blockchains from the Bitcoin Wiki.
The new release also adds some new functionality:
Dozen Consortium Members: You can now deploy a blockchain network that has a dozen consortium members.
Premium storage: To support low latency and high throughput applications, you can configure the nodes within the consortium network to leverage premium storage backed virtual machines.
Password or SSH key: To secure the nodes within your network, you can now specify an SSH key instead of a password.