Project Bletchley Microsoft vision for open, modular Blockchain powered by Azure Cloud


Since launching Microsoft Azure Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) last November. The Azure Blockchain team have 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.

Blockchain has captured the collective curiosity of the business and technology world and rapidly approaches the peak of the hype-cycle witnessed in other technology “fads” of the past. However, this “fad” is different from those in that it is largely not based on new technology, but rather a composite of proven technologies applied to create the underpinning of Bitcoin. However, that same technology when applied to other use cases happens to address a substantial latent pain that exists across industries. Blockchain, or more accurately Distributed Ledger, is more of a catalyst to inspire change in the way disparate organizations work together in highly competitive markets. Existing inter-company transactions carry enormous costs in process, procedure and crosschecking of records to come to settlement on what could turn out to be a trivial exercise using blockchain technology. In short, blockchain or distributed ledger technologies can provide the next wave of innovation that streamlines the way business operates, the same way the web did, giving birth to a new collaborative economy.

Bletchley is Microsoft’s architectural approach to building an Enterprise Consortium Blockchain Ecosystem. To be clear, this is not a new blockchain stack. It is Microsoft’s approach to bring distributed ledger (blockchain) platforms into the enterprise to build real solutions addressing real business problems while keeping the platform open.

If you are already comfortable with blockchain technology and do not need an introduction, please skip forward to the Bletchley Overview.

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 ntract-based protocols like Ethereum, and other Hyperledger, more sophisticated, Smart Cos as developed.

Introduced in Project Bletchley are two new concepts: blockchain middleware and cryptlets.

UtilityVContract

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.

Bletchley

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, such as date and time. 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.

Conclusion

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.

Check out the details of Project Bletchley in this whitepaper.

Check out the Microsoft BlockChain Github https://github.com/Azure/azure-blockchain-projects 

New to Blockchain see my previous blog at https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/uk_faculty_connection/2016/05/12/so-what-is-blockchain/

Comments (1)

  1. Lee Stott says:

    By leveraging the capabilities of Microsoft Azure Resource Manager (ARM), we have shipped an Azure Quickstart Template for Blockchain on Azure. This template now makes it sufficiently easier and quicker to deploy and configure a consortium Ethereum network with minimal Azure and Ethereum knowledge. With a handful of user inputs and a simple single-click deployment, you can provision a fully configured blockchain network topology consisting of many nodes in minutes, using Microsoft Azure compute, networking, and storage services across the globe. For additional information and a detailed walkthrough of the template, we have published a detailed walkthrough see https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/project-bletchley-blockchain-infrastructure-made-easy