Everything You Need to Know about Microsoft’s Blockchain Manager Application

    Microsoft Blockchain Manager Application

    Microsoft stated in a past event that the company would be starting a fully managed blockchain service. Microsoft’s blockchain service will enable users to build blockchain applications on a predefined network.

    The service “simplifies the formation, management, and governance of consortium blockchain networks.” – Frank Shaw (Head of Corporate Communications, Microsoft)

    Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain Workbench Overview:

    Microsoft designed Azure Blockchain Workbench to create Blockchain applications easily.

    Following the release, the blockchain manager app will also help users take advantage of the security offered by Microsoft’s ledger present in the application.

    Microsoft released its blockchain application in 2018 creation service Azure Blockchain Workbench, which was designed to automate the various aspects of blockchain-related work that later went on to help in providing readily available infrastructure for Microsoft’s new Blockchain Manager Application.

    Features of Microsoft Blockchain Manager Application:

    • Creating blockchain applications: With the Microsoft Blockchain Manager Application, a user can define an application by writing smart contract codes and setting up support services.
    • Managing users and applications: It provides REST APIs and web apps for managing the users and the application. In this, the admins can manage, control, and assign different roles to the users.
    • Integrating the blockchain with applications: In this, the user can integrate APIs with the existing system. These APIs provide an interface to allow users to replace or use multiple ledger technologies, database offerings, and storage.
    • Deploying a Blockchain network: It simplifies the setup with an Azure resource manager template. This template also helps to deploy all components that are a must to run a consortium. It also supports Ethereum.
    • Using Active Directory: It replaces Blockchain identity with Azure Directory identity, which makes it simpler to build enterprise applications.

    Microsoft Blockchain Manager Application Architecture

    Microsoft Blockchain Manager Application makes it easy to develop blockchain applications by providing solutions using many Azure components.

    It can also be deployed using a solution template that allows a user to pick several modules that are currently present and when it is deployed, it provides access to Android apps, iOS apps, and web-based apps.

    Authentication and Identity: Blockchain Workbench creates new user accounts for on-chain identities with other identities that are stored in the Azure active directory.

    This helps in authenticating the process, i.e., secure login to client APIs.

    After Blockchain Workbench’s deployment, the user can interact with the workbench via REST-based client API, client applications, or Messaging API. However, these interactions require authentication via Azure AD or some credentials.

    Users utilize Azure AD to manage all the users who are present and have access to the blockchain workbench.

    Client applications: The Microsoft Blockchain Manager Application also provides the user with automatic client generation applications for Android, iOS, and the web. These can be used to test, validate, and view blockchain applications.

    The users of client applications get authentication via Azure AD. The user experience helps to create smart contracts.

    In web-based applications authorized users can access the admin console if they are present in Azure AD’s Admin group which has some functionalities:

    • Deploying smart contracts provided by Microsoft
    • Deploying and uploading their own smart contracts
    • Assigning user access to the smart contracts

    Gateway service API: Microsoft Blockchain Manager Application also includes REST-based gateway service API. This API generates and delivers messages to a broker.

    Developers can also access this gateway to integrate or build new blockchain solutions without relying on such workbench client apps.

    Messaging the Broker: The broker acts as a mediator and has to perform specific tasks. Then developers message the broker to connect with the workbench.

    Messages are also sent to brokers for downstream consumers. There are two types of event consumers: first, which blockchain events trigger, and other, who use it to capture metadata for events.

    Additional Components of Blockchain Manager Application Architecture

    Distributed ledger consumer: It is based on a technology named (Distributed ledger technology). It contains metadata that the blockchain requires.

    The consumer then pushes the data to the transaction signer, builder, and router.

    Database Consumer: The database consumer pushes the data from the service bus to the SQL database.

    Storage consumer: The storage consumer pushes data from the service bus to Azure storage or any other storage that is present there.

    Monitoring: Microsoft Blockchain Manager Application provides application logging to the users using Azure Monitor and Application Insights.

    The mechanism uses these insights to store all the information from the workbench and also include warnings, errors, and information about the operations performed, which developers can use to debug the issues.

    Conclusion:

    With the release of the Microsoft Blockchain Manager Application, it is now easy for developers to develop blockchain applications that they can host on the cloud and also manage consortium policies.

    Amazon Web Services and IBM have already started their blockchain services. Let’s see how Microsoft faces the competition in the market and what future updates Microsoft provides on the blockchain.

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