R3 CEV, the blockchain consortium backed by some of the largest global banks, has partnered with Microsoft to accelerate the deployment of distributed ledger technology.

The consortium named Microsoft Azure as the preferred cloud services provider for the R3 Lab and Research Center, which serves its more than 40 consortium member banks, according to release on Monday.

As part of the deal, Microsoft will provide cloud-based tools, services and infrastructure for R3's global experimentation labs. It will also provide technical architects, project managers, lab assistants and support services.

R3 consortium members also gain access to Microsoft's enterprise-grade cloud security and privacy protections as well as its platform of more than 45 blockchain-as-a-service partners, which include Ripple, Eris Industries and Ethereum.

"With intelligent, cloud-based technology, R3 and member banks will experiment and learn faster, accelerating distributed ledger technology deployment," Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of global business development at Microsoft, said in the release. "Our collaboration brings to light tremendous opportunities to rethink business processes and transform entire industries."