Microsoft’s Project Bletchley Adds Middleware To Azure Blockchain

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Project Bletchley to extend use of Blockchains using middleware and cryptlets for open cloud platforms

Microsoft has officially launched what it is calling Project Bletchley, to deliver its vision of an open, modular blockchain fabric powered by the Azure cloud.

It comes after Microsoft in April threw its weight behind Blockchain technology, best known as the system supporting Bitcoin.

Project Bletchley

Blockchain is the underpinning technology for Bitcoin, but it has applications beyond cryptocurrencies.

This is because a blockchain is distributed database that can store complete transaction history of all types of records. This is potentially of interest to businesses, as well as those organisations involved in banking and finance circles.

blockchainMicrosoft launched Microsoft Azure Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) last November and since then has been steadily working to bring blockchain to both governments and enterprises. It has now announced Project Bletchley to help businesses adopt blockchain.

Microsoft says that Project Bletchley outlines its vision for an “open, modular blockchain fabric powered by Azure.”

“In Project Bletchley, Azure provides the fabric for blockchain, serving as the cloud platform where distributed applications are built and delivered,” blogged Marley Gray director of Cloud and Enterprise at Microsoft.

“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,” he wrote.

Microsoft has essentially pledged that 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.”

New Tools

To this end Project Blethcley includes two new concepts, namely 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,” wrote Gray.

“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,” he wrote.

Cryptlets meanwhile is being touted as a new building block of blockchain technology, to enable secure interoperation and communication between Microsoft Azure, ecosystem middleware and customer technologies.

“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,” concluded Gray. “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.”

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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