Microsoft Azure Blockchain Workbench: Application Development Platform

Microsoft Introduces “Blockchain Workbench” Development Platform for Azure

In a blog post on Monday, May 7, Microsoft Azure General Manager Matthew Kerner announced the launch of the Azure Blockchain Workbench, a development platform that aim to reduce application development times from months to days.

Workbench gets customers started quickly by automating infrastructure setup, allowing developers to focus on application logic. Business owners, meanwhile, can focus on defining and validating their use cases.

The Azure Blockchain Workbench works by connecting blockchain to the cloud with minimal hassle. Blockchain Workbench also lets you experiment with pre-built networks and infrastructure. The ultimate goal, as you may expect, is to optimize the development process.

Some of the most valuable features of Workbench include automatic ledger deployment, network construction, and pre-built blockchain command. All of these features aim to greatly minimize the time it takes to create blockchain-related infrastructure and applications. Despite Bill Gates being against bitcoin, it seems Microsoft is attempting to innovate within the blcockhain space, just like AWS Blockchain templates.

How Does Microsoft Azure Blockchain Workbench Work?

The core functions of Azure Blockchain Workbench include all of the following:

  • Associate blockchain identities with federated identity systems through Azure Active Directory for single sign-on as well as simplified consortium identity management
  • Store keys and secrets within the Azure Key Vault for secure storage
  • Ingest and manage the events required to trigger smart contracts using Service Bus and Event Grid
  • Use the included signing, hashing, and routing tools to transform messages into the format expected by the blockchain’s native API
  • Synchronize on-chain data with off-chain storage and databases to more easily generate business insights from ledger and blockchain data
  • Easily integrate blockchain workflows within existing systems and applications using tools like Logic Apps
  • Extend capabilities with a REST-based API for client development and a message-based API for system-to-system integration

To facilitate access to all of these functions, Workbench has a dynamically-generated UI that automatically adjusts to changes in workflow definitions. Workflow also includes sample workflows and an admin experience for workflow and user provisioning. The end result is that users can rapidly create and iterate on multi-party workflows with minimal coding.

Microsoft, as you may already know, has a motivation to optimize blockchain development.

The Seattle-based software giant is working on Hyperledger in partnership with the United nations, R3, and Cornell University’s Blockchain Research Group. Now, with Blockchain Workbench for Azure, Microsoft seeks to make the development process significantly easier for everyone involved.

The Azure Marketplace also features over 40 app accelerators, developer tools, and network deployment templates. We are also seeing the likes of Oracle develop a blockchain platform as a service as the DLT era continues to shine onward.

Read the full blog post announcing the launch of Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain Workbench here.

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