Microsoft pulls tighter on blockchain with R3 Corda Enterprise

Microsoft pulls tighter on blockchain with R3 Corda Enterprise
Mutual assistance: firm support by Igor Kisselev via Shutterstock

Microsoft has stepped up its integration with enterprise blockchain firm R3 by offering the finance giant-backed firm’s Corda Enterprise platform via the Azure Blockchain Service.

Corda was previously available as a virtual machine image in the Azure Marketplace, but will now be available as a full fat managed service. Or at least as a preview service for now, according to Azure Blockchain principal programme manager, Marc Mercuri.

In a blog announcing the move, he said “the biggest request we had from customers was for Corda to be released as a managed service in Azure. Specifically, a Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering that would set up Corda nodes to connect with the appropriate Corda network, manage node health, and update both the nodes and the underlying software.”

He said the Corda on Azure Blockchain Service would offer users the ability to choose where to provision and host nodes, whether on the Corda Network, or a private network, and would support the latest version of Corda Enterprise.

“Being part of Azure Blockchain Service, you can configure and deploy a Corda node within the Azure portal or programmatically through REST APIs, CLI, or PowerShell,” which he said would dramatically simplify Corda node deployment and connection.

Azure would provide managed APIs to manage Corda nodes and distributed apps, while devs will be able to tap Azure Monitor “making it easier to access Corda node and CorDapp health, monitoring, and logging information.”

R3 describes itself as an “enterprise blockchain software firm” while Corda is its “open-source blockchain platform”, and Corda Enterprise, is “a commercial version of Corda for enterprise usage.”

R3 is, according to its website, “working alongside the world’s leading financial institutions” and “to leverage blockchain technology to solve real business problems in both complex and highly-regulated markets.”

R3 open-sourced Corda platform in 2016, and hit v1 in October 2017, the same year it pulled in $107m in series a funding from 40 investors, including financial names like HSBC and tech giant Intel.

Which goes to show how we’re moving into a new era in tech – one where the phrase R3 doesn’t automatically invoke discomfort amongst veterans who had to deal with the notoriously cranky SAP ERP system of the same name back in the 90s.