Microsoft first developed its cloud computing service Azure with a mission to let developers and organizations do more in the cloud. Over the last year, the company has brought the service beyond just the cloud to DevOps, blockchain technologies, and the open-source community.
In March, Microsoft decided to release its Azure Service Fabric to the open-source community. The distributed systems platform was designed to package, deploy, and manage microservices and containers. The move to open source was to enable others to participate in the development and direction of the platform.
Microsoft also announced big plans for Azure and the Internet of Things with a $5 billion investment in IoT revealed in April. As part of the investment announcement, the company made a number of new profolio updates such as providing a basic tier or “device to cloud telemetry” tier to its Azure IoT Hub solution.
In September, the company held its annual Ignite conference around three primary themes: IT security, AI and data, and IoT and edge computing. At the conference, the company announced Azure confidential computing to protect data in the cloud, new capabilities for Azure Cognitive Services, Azure Digital Twins, and general availability of Azure IoT Central.
Azure came to blockchain technology in November with the release of the Azure Blockchain Development Kit, focused on connecting, integrating and deploying smart contracts and blockchain networks. Some key features of the kit include key management, off-chain identity and data, monitoring, and messaging APIs.