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Posted 26 May 2018
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Azure Blockchain Workbench Guide

, 26 May 2018
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In this article, I will describe the provisioning of Azure Blockchain Workbench.

Introduction

From the Wikipedia definition, a blockchain is a continuously growing list of records. Technically, it’s a distributed database.

These days, we are talking about blockchain, and many companies have started to use it to drive their business value like FedEx to store shipping records and Porshe by launching a solution called Ethereum (a smart contract platform) based on Blockchain.

For more details, click here.

Oliver Döring, Financial Strategist at Porsche said: “We can use blockchain to transfer data more quickly and securely, giving our customers more peace of mind in the future, whether they are charging, parking or need to give a third party, such as a parcel delivery agent, temporary access to the vehicle,”

Others started to work on cloud solutions like:

  • Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service that is a platform-as-a-service (PaaS), for more details, click here.
  • IBM with Stellar, they developed a banking system based on Blockchain, this platform will be using Lumens (XLM).
  • Fujitsu introduced IOTA Foundation; IOTA is a “decentralized open source distributed ledger that runs on a directed acyclic graph, or DAG, protocol called the Tangle.” (ref click here).
  • Microsoft with Azure Blockchain Workbench.

In this article, we will explain how we can adopt Blockchain technologies and we will get started with the workbench.

Azure Blockchain Definition

Windows Azure contains a collection of Azure services and capabilities that enable the enterprises to create and deploy their applications into their Azure subscriptions and integrate them with blockchain available on the Azure Marketplace. These applications can share their business processes and data with other semi-trusted organizations.

See more by clicking here.

Blockchain Architecture

Blockchain

Source: click here.

Azure Blockchain Workbench

It’s a free, easy-to-use tool with a simple interface, decentralized applications which run on a blockchain that communicates and executes a way of logic against a specific digital ledgers network of a peer-to-peer group of nodes.

Create Azure Blockchain Workbench

To start with Blockchain Workbench, we choose «Create a resource» after we find in the bottom of the list Blockchain, we choose it and we get the list of services that we can use for Blockchain in Azure, we find for example Ethereum Studio and a Proof of Work Consortium.

We choose Azure blockchain Workbench.

Blockchain

We get this interface that describes the six steps to enable the provisioning of Azure Blockchain Workbench. We start by establishing configuration parameters and we finish by addressing the network and monitoring.

Blockchain

Step 1 - Configure Basic Settings

We complete the basic settings as below:

Blockchain

Blockchain

We get this interface that describes the six steps to enable the provisioning of Azure Blockchain Workbench. We start by establishing configuration parameters and we finish by addressing the network and monitoring.

Blockchain

Settings Description
Resource prefix A unique identifier used as a prefix to name all Azure resources provisioned for this template.
VM username It is used to define the administrator username for all provisioned Virtual Machine (VM).
Authentication type You can choose between a password or use SSH. (https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-machines/linux/ssh-from-windows)
Database password / Confirm database password This password is used to protect the database included as a part Workbech deployment.
Deployment region This is the region that you prefer to deploy Blockchain Workbench resources.
Subscription You can choose any subscription you have and remember that the license is free and provisioning Azure storage and resources is what you pay for.

Step 2 - Azure Active Directory Setup

This step requires that you have a Blockchain client app Azure AD because you need to enter the registration ID and the key.

Blockchain

If we didn’t register the Blockchain Workbench API app yet, we can follow these steps before going through the next step.

In the left of the navigation pane, you select the Azure Active Directory service. After you choose App registrations > New application registration.

Blockchain

Setting Description
Name Provide a Name for the application
Application type Web app / API
Sign-on URL Provide a Sign-on URL for the application

Blockchain

And, we click on Create to register the Azure AD application.

We get this interface:

Blockchain

And we need to select Manifest to verify the Json configuration file.

Blockchain

The «appRoles» is empty and we have to be an Administrator to identify after the Blockchain Workbench administrators.

The API application requires requesting permission from the user to access the directory. In the next figure, we will set these permissions for the API application:

Select Settings > Required permissions > Select an API > Microsoft Graph

Blockchain

Blockchain

We need to enable Access under Application permissions, so we check Read all users' full profiles as below:

Blockchain

We click on Select after clicking on the Done Button.

Then, we need to grant permissions to allow Blockchain Workbench to access users in the directory. So, we select Grant Permissions, then we confirm that.

Blockchain

So, Azure is our resume for this part, they are displayed in Azure notifications.

Blockchain

We need to add a Graph API key to the application:

Blockchain

We need to copy the value of the key and store it for later because we need it for deployment.

Later, we need to get tenant domain name, so we will select Custom domain names as below:

Blockchain

We come back to Step 2 of the Azure Active Directory setup and we complete these values:

Setting Description
Domain Name This is the tenant name that we define it previously
Application ID This is the Application ID from the Blockchain client app registration defined previously
Application Key This is the value of the key that we copied previously.

Note that only users that are specified in the Azure AD are able to authenticate and use the deployed resources.

Step 3 - Network Size and Performance

In this part, we specify the number of nodes in the provisioning Blockchain ledgers, even the size allowed to the VMs.

Blockchain

Step 4 - Azure Monitor

In this part, we can choose whether or not to enable Azure Monitor to monitor your blockchain network in the monitoring part, and we can choose using an existing Log Analytics instance or we will create a new one. If using an existing instance, we need to identify the workspace ID and primary key.

Steps 5 and 6 - Summary and Buy (Cost)

These steps are presenting the summary of all provisioning and in the end, it defines the cost according to what we choose.

Blockchain

We click on Create to agree to the terms and to deploy the Azure Blockchain Workbench.

And the deployment starts:

Blockchain

This procedure can take up to 90 minutes.

In the next article, we demonstrate how we can deploy Azure Blockchain Workbench.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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About the Author

didourebai
Technical Lead
Canada Canada
I am Rebaï Hamida, Microsoft MVP in Visual Studio and Development Technologies.
I'm a software architect and developer who like to build open source projects, writing articles, learning and teaching best practices. you can find out in my blog : http://hamidarebai.blogspot.com/

Innovative Software engineer : hands-on, competent software engineer, passionate and proficient C# developer, offering more than seven years of experience in the full software development lifecycle – from concept through delivery of next-generation applications and customized solutions, producing code to a consistently high standard and testing software across a variety of platforms.
Expert in advanced development methodologies, tools and processes contributing to the design and roll-out of cutting-edge software applications.
Known for excellent troubleshooting skills – able to analyze code and engineer well-researched, cost-effective and responsive solutions.


Success is only a consequence of a continuous work and remarkable intelligence.
I believe that I have to make a change in my country, I can’t live without leaving my footprint.

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Comments and Discussions

 
QuestionMy Vote of 5 Pin
Mouadh TRABELSI1-Jun-18 1:57
memberMouadh TRABELSI1-Jun-18 1:57 
QuestionAzure docs say it better Pin
Sacha Barber29-May-18 21:12
mvpSacha Barber29-May-18 21:12 
AnswerRe: Azure docs say it better Pin
Zdenek Sedlak30-May-18 1:08
professionalZdenek Sedlak30-May-18 1:08 
GeneralRe: Azure docs say it better Pin
didourebai30-May-18 2:52
professionaldidourebai30-May-18 2:52 
AnswerRe: Azure docs say it better Pin
didourebai30-May-18 2:45
professionaldidourebai30-May-18 2:45 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Paddank27-May-18 19:50
memberPaddank27-May-18 19:50 

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