Bletchley v1 is now available in the Azure Marketplace cloud app store, laying the foundation for business blockchains on Microsoft's cloud.
Introduced in June, Project Bletchley is an Ethereum-based technology for creating blockchains quickly, wherein a preselected set of trusted nodes manages the consensus process. In September, Microsoft launched Bletchley v1, cutting the time it takes to set up such blockchains to minutes from weeks.
Now, users can deploy Bletchley v1 as readily as other Azure Marketplace offerings. "With this release, you have all the same great functionality as with the original release in the Azure Quickstart templates, but with a more robust user experience directly integrated into the Azure portal," wrote Christine Avanessians, a senior program manager at Microsoft Azure, in a blog post.
The release follows last week's announcement that Chain Core, a distributed ledger from enterprise blockchain infrastructure provider Chain, was made available on Azure. Also available is Ethereum Studio, a developer sandbox from ether.camp.
Microsoft this week also announced that its Cool Blob Storage option is now available in six additional new Azure cloud data center regions, namely U.S. East, U.S. West, Germany Central, Germany Northeast, Australia Southeast and Brazil South.
A "blob" is the term the company uses to describe Azure storage objects. "Blob storage accounts are specialized storage accounts for storing your unstructured data as blobs (objects) in Azure Storage," blogged Michael Hauss, a program manager at Microsoft Azure Storage. "With Blob storage accounts, you can choose between hot and cool storage tiers to store your less frequently accessed (cool) data at a lower storage cost, and store more frequently accessed (hot) data at a lower access cost."
Azure Backup, meanwhile, gained the ability to backup and restore encrypted virtual machines (VMs) with BitLocker Encryption Key and Key Encryption Key, on top of existing support for Classic, Resource Manager and Premium Storage VMs. The feature can be used with PowerShell to automate backup and restore operations.
Azure SQL now supports back-up retention periods of up to 10 years—a major jump from the built-in 35-day limit. A new long-term retention policy feature, currently in preview, allows users to copy Azure SQL's weekly backups to Azure Backup Service Vault automatically, extending backup data retention periods for several years.
Finally, Microsoft has overhauled its hybrid cloud integration tool, Azure Relay. The company is readying a set of new cross-platform capabilities called Hybrid Connections (similar to but newer than the BizTalk feature of the same name).
Whereas Azure Relay required the use of .NET on Windows and the Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) framework, Hybrid Connections "is completely based on HTTPS and WebSockets, allowing you to securely connect resources and services residing behind a firewall in your on-premises setup with services in the cloud or other assets anywhere," said Clemens Vasters, a Microsoft Azure Service Bus architect, in a Nov. 1 announcement.