Azure Gets Strato Upgrade And Extends Its Free Offerings
Azure Gets Strato Upgrade And Extends Its Free Offerings
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Wednesday, 01 November 2017

Microsoft has added free access to popular products for 12 months to what you can expect from a free trial account on Azure. Although not one of them, the Strato product has been updated on Azure. 

Microsoft has previously tempted developers to Azure with a free account in which by signing up (which requires credit card information) you are given $200 in credit for the first 30 days. Now it has added free access to a range of popular products, including 750 hours of compute time on both Linux and Windows Virtual machines, 250 GB of SQL Database and 5GB of both blog and file storage, for 12 months. This is in addition to more than 25 "always free" products, as long as you don't exceed the free tier limits - which means that many developers will be able to take advantage of Azure without ever paying for compute, storage, database, machine learning and much else.



Strato is BlockApps’ enterprise product. It consists of three modules - Blockchain, Smart Contract Interface, and Network. Blockchain can be used to generate a customized private Blockchain ledger with permissions set to your specifications. The Smart Contract Interface can then be used to connect the Blockchain to any Internet connected device via a web-friendly RESTful API. The network element expands the private Strato Blockchain into a full consortium (semi-private) network by communicating with other authorized Strato peers or with public Ethereum nodes.

The three elements can be used to create industry-specific Blockchain applications on top of ledgers. Strato's BlockApps was one of the first Blockchains to be available on Azure back in 2015, and gained popularity because of the ability it offers to consume the blockchain resources via a simple REST based API. The updated version includes a Management Dashboard, updated Swagger documentation for APIs, an updated version of BLOC, and Cirrus Analytics.

The Management Dashboard shows the blockchain network in a single view, and lets users interact with the network without coding. The dashboard shows:

  • Telemetry and health of the blockchain
  • Network topology, including details about network peers
  • Account management, including creation of new accounts and funding of those accounts
  • Creation and execution of smart contracts
  • Querying blockchain state via Cirrus


The Cirrus Analytics are another improvement. Cirrus is a component that provides real-time information about state in smart contracts via a RESTful API. Cirrus can also be accessed directly in UI for in the Management console. Cirrus works by indexing smart contracts and making aggregates and queries available to search and build analytics solutions on top of Strato. As changes are made to the state contained within the indexed contracts, the data is automatically available in Management Dashboard and via the Cirrus API. 


More Information

BlockApps Website

Azure Free Trial

Related Articles

Microsoft Introduces CoCo Blockchain Framework

Linux Foundation Backs Blockchain Project 


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