Since launching Microsoft Azure Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) last November, we’ve been working side-by-side with businesses and partners to understand core industry scenarios, and to develop the technologies and ecosystem that will bring blockchain to enterprises, governments and people successfully.
We’ve learned a lot about essential platform principles, features and capabilities that will enable enterprises to adopt blockchain. To address this, we’re introducing Project Bletchley, which outlines Microsoft’s vision for an open, modular blockchain fabric powered by Azure, and highlights new elements we believe are key in enterprise blockchain architecture.
Project Bletchley addresses common themes we’re hearing from early adopters of blockchain across industries, including:
- Platform openness is a requirement.
- Features like identity, key management, privacy, security, operations management and interoperability need to be integrated.
- Performance, scale, support and stability are crucial.
- Consortium blockchains, which are members-only, permissioned networks for consortium members to execute contracts, are ideal.
In Project Bletchley, Azure provides the fabric for blockchain, serving as the cloud platform where distributed applications are built and delivered. Microsoft Azure’s availability in 24 regions across the globe, hybrid cloud capabilities, extensive compliance certification portfolio, and enterprise-grade security enable blockchain adoption, especially in highly regulated industries like financial services, healthcare and government.
Azure will be open to a variety of blockchain protocols, supporting simple, Unspent Transaction Output-based protocols (UTXO) like Hyperledger, more sophisticated, Smart Contract-based protocols like Ethereum, and others as developed.
Introduced in Project Bletchley are two new concepts: blockchain middleware and cryptlets.
Blockchain middleware will provide core services functioning in the cloud, like identity and operations management, in addition to data and intelligence services like analytics and machine learning. These technologies will ensure the secure, immutable operation that blockchain provides, at the same time, deliver the business intelligence and reporting capabilities business leaders and regulators demand. Newly developed middleware will work in tandem with existing Azure services, like Active Directory and Key Vault, and other blockchain ecosystem technologies, to deliver a holistic platform and set of solutions.
Cryptlets, a new building block of blockchain technology, will enable secure interoperation and communication between Microsoft Azure, ecosystem middleware and customer technologies. Cryptlets function when additional information is needed to execute a transaction or contract based on a date or time and providing market data. They will become a critical component of sophisticated blockchain systems, enabling all technology to work together in a secure, scalable way.
Project Bletchley is a vision for Microsoft to deliver Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) that is open and flexible for all platforms, partners and customers. We’re thrilled to be on this journey with the blockchain community, and are looking forward to helping transform the way we think about and do business today.
Check out the details of Project Bletchley in this whitepaper.