Blockstack Core is available on the Azure Marketplace

We're pleased to announce that users can now seamlessly deploy Blockstack Core nodes on Microsoft Azure. Blockstack Core nodes provide the core functionality of Blockstack. These nodes process data from the blockchain and construct a global view of security and ownership mappings. Users don't need to trust any other service or infrastructure other than their Blockstack node.

Internet security is becoming increasingly important in today's world. Blockstack secures critical Internet infrastructure using blockchains and enables users to trust only their own devices and nodes. Lowering the friction to deploy Blockstack nodes is an important step towards making a truly decentralized Internet a reality.

Azure is the first major cloud provider to integrate Blockstack in its marketplace offering. You can read Microsoft's announcement here.

Deploying a new node on Azure is simple. First, create an Azure account if you don't already have one. Then, start deploying the node from the Blockstack Core v14 virtual machine page. Blockstack Core v14 is the latest release of Blockstack Core as of Dec 2016.

The Blockstack Core image comes with both the Blockstack CLI and the Blockstack Core node. You can start using the CLI by typing:

$ blockstack info

This will prompt you to initialize a new wallet and then display basic info:

{
    "advanced_mode": false, 
    "cli_version": "0.14.0.7", 
    "consensus_hash": "1e8719de28320f7aaee45a959d12c479", 
    "last_block_processed": 444489, 
    "last_block_seen": 444496, 
    "server_alive": true, 
    "server_host": "node.blockstack.org", 
    "server_port": 6264, 
    "server_version": "0.14.1"
}

The CLI is configured to talk to a public Blockstack node (node.blockstack.org) by default. You can start your local Blockstack Core node and then update the CLI configuration.

$ blockstack-server start

The server will start in the background and begin processing the blockchain. You can update your CLI to use the local node:

$ blockstack configure

And then enter 'localhost' for the server option. Blockstack Core takes a few hours to boot up and process the blockchain from the beginning. We're working on a fast-sync feature and will announce that on our blog soon. Meanwhile, try deploying your node and let us know if you have any feedback!