Microsoft to shut down Azure Blockchain Service

A graphic interpretation of blockchain as a chain of code
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain Service is set to be retired on 10 September 2021, with users being asked to migrate their ledger data to an alternative offering.

Although the platform still supports existing deployments, it’s no longer accepting new members or projects.

The decision to sunset Azure Blockchain Service after only two years was confirmed earlier this week, with Microsoft announcing its deprecation on 10 May.

With a deadline for the retirement set for 10 September, users are being requested to opt for an alternative platform.

The tech giant also provided a thorough migration guide which aims to guide customers, including GE, J.P. Morgan, Singapore Airlines, Starbucks, and Xbox, through the process, and recommended that they migrate their data to the ConsenSys Quorum Ethereum service.

“Based on your current development state, you can either opt to use existing ledger data on Azure Blockchain Service or start a new network and use the solution of your choice,” stated Microsoft. “We recommend creating a new consortium based on a solution of your choice in all scenarios where you do not need or intend to use existing ledger data on Azure Blockchain Service.”

Blockchain is a form of distributed ledger technology, made famous because it is the system on which Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are built upon. However, there is more to blockchain than just digital money, with the technology also being used by banks to digitise the transaction records of private placements, or by jewellery companies to help track the origin and ownership of precious gems.

Microsoft first started reselling blockchain as a service (BaaS) in 2015, but only launched the fully-managed consortium network, Azure Blockchain Service, in 2019, allowing users to build, govern, as well as expand blockchain networks at scale.

Microsoft has not provided a succinct reason as to what motivated this decision, although it’s suspected that the platform wasn’t performing as well as its rivals.

The process of the shutdown can also be followed on Twitter through @AzureEndofLife, which was created by Codit Azure architect Tom Kerkhove as a way of monitoring the process.

The news of the sunsetting of Azure Blockchain Service comes months after IBM and R3 announced that they were working together to provide clients with new options to scale blockchain technology while ensuring performance, compliance, and data privacy.

Sabina Weston

Having only graduated from City University in 2019, Sabina has already demonstrated her abilities as a keen writer and effective journalist. Currently a content writer for Drapers, Sabina spent a number of years writing for ITPro, specialising in networking and telecommunications, as well as charting the efforts of technology companies to improve their inclusion and diversity strategies, a topic close to her heart.

Sabina has also held a number of editorial roles at Harper's Bazaar, Cube Collective, and HighClouds.