Web3 infrastructure firm Ankr Inc. said today that it’s partnering with Microsoft Corp. to provide enterprise-level blockchain node hosting services via the Microsoft Azure cloud solution for decentralized app developers and builders.
The two firms will work together to merge their expertise, Ankr will give its knowledge in blockchain infrastructure and Microsoft will offer the service through the Azure Marketplace with easy-to-purchase solutions. Customers will be able to buy blockchain node hosting infrastructure just like any other cloud service.
Web3, also known as the decentralized web, allows participants to build financial ecosystems that eschew middlemen and centralized finance such as banks and build nontraditional ecosystems such as decentralized gaming, retail and more. The network infrastructure of Web3 is built on the blockchain, which depends on nodes.
Blockchain nodes serve as a fundamental component of Web3 networks and maintain copies of the distributed blockchain ledger, act as communications hubs and verify the integrity of the transactions being added to the network. The primary duty of a node is to confirm the legitimacy of each new “block” of transactions added to the blockchain.
By running a node, Web3 developers gain low-latency access to blockchains to read and write transactions and track application performance as close to real time as possible. This increases the reliability of decentralized applications, or dapps, for operations teams and makes them easier to access, update, and troubleshoot when something happens.
“This was a critical step in bringing blockchain infrastructure to a growing sector of the digital economy,” Chandler Song, co-founder and chief executive of Ankr. “The partnership, while an incredible milestone for Ankr, is also a key indicator of how far the decentralized web has come in integrating with the crucial players in every layer of web systems.”
Using Microsoft Azure cloud with Ankr’s infrastructure, builders will be able to launch fully managed enterprise-grade blockchain nodes with customizable memory and bandwidth requirements in any part of the world set to their own requirements. This will allow clients to optimize for speed and reliability and easily track the performance of nodes across a large number of different blockchains with advanced telemetry.
Currently, Ankr supports over 38 blockchains, including Ethereum, BNB Smart Chain, Polkadot, Near, Fantom, Polygon, Celo and more.
“Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more,” Rashmi Misra, Microsoft general manager of AI and emerging technologies. “Many developers and organizations are exploring how Web3 can help solve real-world business challenges, and our partnership with Ankr will enable them to access blockchain data in a reliable, scalable, and secure way.”
Popular companies providing similar services include Infura, Alchemy and Blockdaemon, which all provide enterprise-grade node hosting infrastructure on their own clouds. Google Cloud also offers Node Engine, although it only supports Ethereum blockchain nodes. The cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase launched Node in September as part of Coinbase Cloud, which provides enterprise-grade managed node hosting for developers.
With this partnership, Ankr and Microsoft hope to bring yet another enterprise node hosting solution into the industry that gives developers more opportunities to build blockchain-based applications without worrying about the underlying infrastructure.
About the partnership, Song said, “The end result will be an era of extremely prolific building for blockchain-based applications from new Web3 projects as well as large enterprises entering the space.”