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Jessica Veit
Jessica Veit

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Blockchain-based Cloud Computing 3: BaaS by Azure

In the last post of this blog series we looked at the implementations Amazons AWS provides the Blockchain community with. Today we will focus on the Microsoft Azure Cloud and see what else lays in the pool of possibilities when it comes to the BaaS offerings of the big players in Cloud computing.

Azure Blockchain Solutions

To get started with a general overview, three Blockchain Solutions are provided by Microsoft Azure as of the publishing date of this post:

Further down the line there is also the Azure Blockchain Workbench (ABW). So, a lot to explore for every Blockchain developer!

The Azure Confidential Ledger

The Azure Confidential Ledger is a managed service ensuring immutability and cryptographic data integrity. It is based on a permissioned Blockchain model and can easily be created as new resource within the Azure Portal, and currently the preview of it is free.

While solutions like the immutable storage feature of Azure Blob Storage provides a similar functionality to the Azure users, it does not have the immutability as its main concern, and when configured poorly it can have serious side effects when sensitive data is accessible for the wrong audience. Additionally, the Blob Storage itself is not a ledger, so to say not an append-only database also focusing on the order in which the data was persisted.

Immutable Storage Overview - worm Diagram

Azure SQL Database Ledger

Other than the confidential ledger, which is a stand-alone service, the sql database ledger is a new type of database within Azure. This ledger overlay enables the database administrator via cryptographically attesting it that the data of other parties using the database was not tampered with. Visible to the users is a protected history table storing every change of every database row ever committed.

ConsenSys Quorum Blockchain Service

ConsenSys provides a decentralized web with the ConsenSys' Ethereum product suite and is now working with Microsoft to offer an Ethereum-based managed Blockchain. ConsenSys Quorum per se is an open-source protocol layer for developing with Ethereum, yet with Azure it is provided with the as a Service paradigm to allow fast and easy access. And where the terms open-source and Blockchain are announced Hyperledger is not that far of, because the Hyperledger Besu – an Ethereum Client maintained by the Hyperledger community – also includes ConsenSys.

Interesting for developers, like in our case, is the Use Quorum Developer Quickstart. With known tools like Truffle and MetaMask one can easily get started with their own private Blockchain network today (although connections to the mainnet, private networks, and test networks such as Rinkeby or Ropsten are of course also possible).


Confidential Ledger

SQL Database Ledger

Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric on Pexels 🎉

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