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R3 and Microsoft Corp. have expanded their strategic partnership to further accelerate adoption of R3's Corda platform amongst businesses using Microsoft Azure.

The partnership, which began in April 2016, will now offer deeper integration of the Corda platform with Azure making it easier for businesses to deploy underlying computing resources for blockchain networks, said a statement. The expansion reaffirms Azure as R3's preferred cloud provider.

R3 and Microsoft also aim to offer effortless deployment of Corda and Corda networks on Azure. This new functionality will enable businesses to quickly and easily set up Corda nodes and networks, reducing time and cost of deployment which are major considerations when adopting distributed ledger-based platforms. With the deeper integration, businesses can enable seamless integration of Azure services with Corda, including SQL Database and in the future other services such as Azure Active Directory, Key Vault, and Express Route. This will enable developers to design and build apps on Corda, known as CorDapps, using familiar tools.

David E. Rutter, CEO of R3, said: "Deepening our relationship with Microsoft helps put Corda at the fingertips of millions of businesses across the globe. The platform gives companies complete freedom to develop and deploy innovative DLT-based solutions to their customers' specific challenges. Integrating Corda with Azure streamlines and simplifies the development and deployment process and ultimately helps businesses expedite commercial deployment of CorDapps." R3 recently launched version 1.0 of Corda, achieving stability of the platform's core application programming interface (API). This means CorDapp developers on Azure can build on Corda v1.0 safe in the knowledge that any future improvements and enhancements to Corda will not disrupt their work.

Peggy Johnson, executive vice president, Microsoft, said: "Blockchain technology has the potential to unlock incredible value for businesses across industries. By expanding our partnership with R3, we're making it easier for our customers to harness blockchain technology on Microsoft Azure so they can focus on building real-world business solutions, applications and pilots."

More than 60 partners including large Independent Software Vendors and System Integrators from regions around the world have selected Corda to develop solutions across a wide variety of industries. Corda provides a technology platform that enables organizations to create unique solutions unlocking new growth potential.

Dilan Rajasingham, Head of Emerging Technology at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, said: "As an early investor in R3, Commonwealth Bank has developed deep experience in distributed ledger technologies, and our early adoption of cloud technology has delivered significant benefits to our organisation and our customers. Deeper integration of the Corda platform with Azure will enable CBA to better scale our distributed ledger experimentation and help keep CBA at the forefront of technology innovation in financial services."