Category Archives : Blockchain



Office Licensing Service and Azure Cosmos DB part 2: Improved performance and availability

This post is part 2 of a two-part series about how organizations use Azure Cosmos DB to meet real world needs, and the difference it’s making to them. In part 1, we explored the challenges that led the Microsoft Office Licensing Service team to move from Azure Table storage to Azure Cosmos DB, and how it migrated its production workload to the new service. In part 2, we examine the outcomes resulting from the team’s efforts.

Strong benefits with minimal effort

The Microsoft Office Licensing Service (OLS) team’s migration from Azure Table storage to Azure Cosmos DB was simple and straightforward, enabling the team to meet all its needs with minimal effort.

An easy migration

In moving to Azure Cosmos DB, thanks to its Table API, the OLS team was able to reuse most of its data access code, and the migration engine they wrote to avoid any downtime was fast and easy to build.

Danny Cheng, a software engineer at Microsoft, who leads the OLS development team explains:

“The migration engine was the only real ‘new code’ we had to write. And the code samples for all three parts are publicly available, so it’s not like we had to




Office Licensing Service and Azure Cosmos DB part 1: Migrating the production workload

This post is part 1 of a two-part series about how organizations use Azure Cosmos DB to meet real world needs, and the difference it’s making to them. In part 1, we explore the challenges that led the Microsoft Office Licensing Service team to move from Azure Table storage to Azure Cosmos DB, and how it migrated its production workload to the new service. In part 2, we examine the outcomes resulting from the team’s efforts.

The challenge: Limited throughput and other capabilities

At Microsoft, the Office Licensing Service (OLS) supports activation of the Microsoft Office client on millions of devices around the world—including Windows, Mac, tablets, and mobile. It stores information such as machine ID, product ID, activation count, expiration date, and more. OLS is accessed by the Office client more than more than 240 million times per day by users around the world, with the first call coming from the client upon license activation and then every 2-3 days thereafter as the client checks to make sure the license is still valid.

Until recently, OLS relied on Azure Table storage for its backend data store, which contained about 5 TB of data spread across 18 tables—with separate tables




Hyperledger Fabric on Azure Kubernetes Service Marketplace template

Customers exploring blockchain for their applications and solutions typically start with a prototype or proof of concept effort with a blockchain technology before they get to build, pilot, and production rollout. During the latter stages, apart from the ease of deployment, there is an expectation of flexibility in the configuration in terms of the number of blockchain members in the consortium, size and number of nodes and ease in management post-deployment.

We are sharing the release of a new Hyperledger Fabric on Azure Kubernetes Service marketplace template in preview. Any user with minimal knowledge of Azure or Hyperledger Fabric can now set up a blockchain consortium on Azure using this solution template by providing few basic input parameters.

This template helps the customers to deploy Hyperledger Fabric (HLF) network on Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) clusters in a modular manner, that meets the much-required customization with regard to the choice of Microsoft Azure Virtual Machine series, number of nodes, fault-tolerance, etc. Azure Kubernetes Service provides enterprise-grade security and governance, making the deployment and management of containerized application easy. Customers anticipate leveraging the native Kubernetes tools for the management plane operations of the infrastructure and call Hyperledger Fabric APIs or Hyperledger Fabric




Accelerating blockchain adoption in the enterprise
Accelerating blockchain adoption in the enterprise

The mission for our blockchain investments has remained steadfast since the beginning, with the goal of democratizing complex technologies and creating connections across organizational boundaries to solve shared problems in a trusted manner. With this in mind, our roadmap has been focused on building an open and scalable platform to advance the adoption of blockchain in the enterprise.

We have seen this approach resonate with our customers time and time again. A real-world example powered by Azure blockchain technology is GE Aviation’s next-generation blockchain solution that tracks the genealogy of engine parts to improve productivity and safety for airlines. 

“Microsoft has taken blockchain from an art and transformed it into a science by fundamentally improving each aspect of the software stack. We’ve benefited from the innovation of no-code logic apps for data ingestion, off-chain storage with Azure SQL Database and Azure Cosmos DB, and analytics visualization via Power BI. The rich integration of these Azure services with Azure Blockchain Service and Azure Blockchain Workbench have enabled us to get our solutions into the hands of our customers much faster with a lot less complexity.” – David Havera, Blockchain Leader, GE Aviation Digital Group

With this in mind,




Introducing Corda Enterprise on Azure Blockchain Service
Introducing Corda Enterprise on Azure Blockchain Service

Providing our customers with choice and flexibility is central to our mission around blockchain in Azure. Today, we are pleased to introduce that we’re bringing managed Corda Enterprise to Azure Blockchain Service.

The road to Corda Enterprise on Azure as a managed service

In 2016, Microsoft and R3 worked together to bring Corda Enterprise to Azure as a virtual machine image in the Azure Marketplace.

In 2017, the relationship matured to a partnership, and in the subsequent years we’ve worked closely with customers, consortiums, and independent software vendors (ISVs) to help them bring Corda-based solutions to Azure. Working together with our customers and partners, we’ve seen the launch of multiple Corda consortiums on Azure, from Insurwave’s launch in 2018 to the recent September 2019 announcement of TradeIX’s launch of the Marco Polo Network on Azure.

As customers were building end to end solutions, one of the big requests was to make integrating Corda with enterprise data, systems, and Software as a Service (SaaS) easier. Earlier this year, we released the Corda Logic App and Flow Connectors that brought 30 years of Microsoft enterprise integration experience to Corda. With Flow and PowerApps, it also became possible for citizen developers to build




12 TB VMs, Expanded SAP partnership on Blockchain, Azure Monitor for SAP Solutions

A few months back, at SAP’s SAPPHIRE NOW event, we announced the availability of Azure Mv2 Virtual Machines (VMs) with up to 6 TB of memory for SAP HANA. We also reiterated our commitment to making Microsoft Azure the best cloud for SAP HANA. I’m glad to share that Azure Mv2 VMs with 12 TB of memory will become generally available and production certified in the coming weeks, in US West 2, US East, US East 2, Europe North, Europe West and Southeast Asia regions. In addition, over the last few months, we have expanded regional availability for M-series VMs, offering up to 4 TB, in Brazil, France, Germany, South Africa and Switzerland. Today, SAP HANA certified VMs are available in 34 Azure regions, enabling customers to seamlessly address global growth, run SAP applications closer to their customers and meet local regulatory needs.

Learn how you can leverage Azure Mv2 VMs for SAP HANA by watching this video.

Running mission critical SAP applications requires continuous monitoring to ensure system performance and availability. Today, we are launching private preview of Azure Monitor for SAP Solutions, an Azure Marketplace offering that monitors SAP HANA infrastructure through the Azure Portal. Customers can




The Marco Polo Network uses Azure and Corda blockchain to modernize trade finance

The Marco Polo Network is now generally available on Azure to help both trade banks and corporations take advantage the R3 Corda distributed ledger to better facilitate global trade in this ever-changing world. Regardless of what headlines will lead you to believe, international trade is the lifeblood of the modern global economy. Each year, hundreds of trillions of dollars in goods, assets, credit, and money change hands to keep the engine of global trade running. When a multinational corporation (acting as a seller or exporter) sends goods to their customers (acting as buyers or importers,) the corporation often doesn’t receive payment for 30-90 days. This problem can be exacerbated by variables such as tariffs or new customs duties. To manage cash flow while waiting for payment, sellers often resort to taking out short-term loans from trade banks. But trade banks find it difficult to keep pace having to rely on aging systems and siloed data that increases cost and process friction for all involved.

The disadvantages of disconnected trade

If global trade is an engine, financing is the fuel. But many trade banks rely on decades-old, paper-based processes that slow trade flow and add complexity, with antiquated financing tools that




Rapidly develop blockchain solutions, but avoid the complexities

After first emerging as the basis for the Bitcoin protocol, blockchain has since gained momentum as a way to digitize business processes that extend beyond the boundaries of a single organization. While digital currencies use the shared ledger to track transactions and balances, enterprises are coming together to use the ledger in a different way. Smart contracts—codified versions of paper based agreements—enable multiple organizations to agree on terms that must be met for a transaction to be considered valid, empowering automated verification and workflows on the blockchain.

These digitized business processes, governed by smart contracts and powered by the immutability of blockchain, are poised to deliver the scalable trust today’s enterprises need. One Microsoft partner, SIMBA Chain, has created an offering that reduces the effort and time to start creating solutions using blockchain technology.

The Azure platform offers a wealth of services for partners to enhance, extend, and build industry solutions. Here we describe how one Microsoft partner uses Azure to solve a unique problem.

Simplifying blockchain app development

SIMBA stands for SIMpler Blockchain Applications. SIMBA Chain is a cloud based, Smart Contract as a Service (SCaaS) platform, enabling users with a variety of skill sets to build decentralized applications




Improved developer experience for Azure Blockchain development kit

As digital transformation expands beyond the walls of one company and into processes shared across organizations, businesses are looking to blockchain as a way to share workflow data and logic.

This spring we introduced Azure Blockchain Service, a fully-managed blockchain service that simplifies the formation, management, and governance of consortium blockchain networks. With a few simple clicks, users can create and deploy a permissioned blockchain network and manage consortium membership using an intuitive interface in the Azure portal.

To help developers building applications on the service, we also introduced our Azure Blockchain development kit for Ethereum. Delivered via Visual Studio Code, the dev kit runs on all major operating systems, and brings together the best of Microsoft and open source blockchain tooling, including deep integration with leading OSS tools from Truffle. These integrations enable developers to create, compile, test, and manage smart contract code before deploying it to a managed network in Azure.

We’re constantly looking and listening to feedback for areas where we can lean in and help developers go further, faster. This week for TruffleCon, we’re releasing some exciting new features that make it easier than ever to build blockchain applications:

Interactive debugger: Debugging of Ethereum smart contracts,



Jun’re excited to share the release of Microsoft Azure Blockchain Workbench 1.7.0, which along with our new Azure Blockchain Service, can further enhance your blockchain development and projects. You can deploy a new instance of Blockchain Workbench through the Azure READ MORE