Microsoft has announced that it is integrating tools built by the blockchain startup Truffle into its Azure cloud computing service to help developers build and manage enterprise blockchain applications.
Truffle tools have been available on Microsoft Azure since May 2, and according to the company have been used by thousands of people on the platform so far.
“We really believe in the power of blockchain. This is not some arbitrary thing that we're going to do because customers are forcing us,” says Marc Mercuri, principal program manager at Azure Blockchain Engineering.
Truffle, one of the earliest projects at the Brooklyn-based Ethereum incubator ConsenSys, started out making tools for developers to help them build applications on Ethereum at a time when blockchain developer work required an extremely specialized set of skills.
"We wanted to open that up and make access to the blockchain more available to a large swath developers," says Truffle founder and CEO Tim Coulter. Truffle officially spun off from ConsenSys this year and in May received a $3 million injection of capital from the organization to support enterprise expansion.
Truffle is also integrated with Quorum, the open-source enterprise blockchain used by JPMorgan for its newly launched JPMCoin, and AxCore, a blockchain built by Axoni that is currently being used by the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation.
Truffle tools have been downloaded more than 2.7 million times, and the new integration with Microsoft means that Azure customers, which include major companies like Adobe, HP, and the International Hotels Group as well as legions of smaller projects, will be able to build on public or private Ethereum blockchains with support from Microsoft.
“What we're doing with this partnership is extremely exciting, because it it opens up all of those developers to Truffle and it opens Truffle up to all of the services that Microsoft provides," Coulter says.
One of Azure and Truffle's newly integrated services, an extension to Microsoft's Visual Studio Code, helps developers create smart contracts and test them locally before deploying them. Another new service is designed to help teams monitor the performance of blockchain apps in real time.
Of course, Azure is not the only web services platform to embrace blockchain in recent months. Amazon Web Services offers its own blockchain services and has partnered with Kaleido, another ConsenSys project, on a marketplace for blockchain tools for businesses. Oracle also has its own enterprise blockchain platform, and Salesforce introduced its iteration of a blockchain developer tool last month.